Although almost 122 years have elapsed since the first so-called "khaki election" in Britain in 1900, that poll, at the height of the Boer War, set a pattern many governments have followed ever since.
The election, which saw Churchill elected to the House of Commons for the first time, was fought almost entirely on the issue of the South African war.
The governing Conservatives were committed to fighting the Boers to the finish. The Liberals were divided. Their Gladstonian faction argued enough was enough, the war was unjust and inhumane, it was being poorly fought, and it was time to bring it to a negotiated conclusion. Younger Liberals, by contrast, feared the electorate would interpret this as an anti-Imperial policy and wanted a more pragmatic approach.
The Conservatives took advantage of this confusion with the then colonial secretary, Joseph Chamberlain (the father of Neville), going so far as to say "a vote for the Liberals is a vote for the Boer"; the 19th century equivalent of calling your opponents "Manchurian candidates".
When the votes were tallied the only surprise was the magnitude of the Liberals' defeat. They had lost in a landslide. Voters had rallied around flag and empire in support of a cruel conflict which had another two years to run.
Fast forward 122 years and it is obvious the LNP government is determined to take advantage of both the crisis in the Ukraine and the rise of China to try to repeat the success enjoyed by the Marquess of Salisbury on that occasion.
That was made crystal clear during Prime Minister Scott Morrison's address to the Lowy Institute on Monday when he ramped up the rhetoric against Russia and China and spoke of the Coalition's commitment to escalate defence spending to levels rarely seen outside wartime.
While the speech was ostensibly to announce the decision to establish a $10 billion submarine base capable of harbouring elements of the future nuclear submarine fleet on the east coast at either Brisbane, Newcastle or Port Kembla, that was just the tip of the iceberg. Russia and China were also squarely in the frame.
While Mr Morrison walked back the Defence Minister Peter Dutton's suggestion a decision on what nuclear submarine Australia would run with was just months away, he did not rule out a pre-election announcement on what the RAN's interim submarine capability might look like.
Given the announcement of an east coast base this could include basing AUKUS partners' submarines in Australia or possibly leasing or buying some older US or Royal Navy submarines.
The key element in the speech, however, was the PM's uncompromising rhetoric on both Russia and China. He went so far as to suggest Beijing had blood on its hands saying: "So long as they [the Chinese] have a bet each way on this, then I fear the bloodshed will continue".
And as for Russia: "We condemn Russia's abhorrent actions in the strongest possible terms, as a gross violation of international law and an assault on freedom. This is the latest example of an authoritarian regime seeking to challenge the status quo through threats and violence".
While there was no repeat of earlier attempts to smear the ALP as soft on national security, Mr Morrison's colourful rhetoric, and the timing of the announcement of the east coast submarine base, was clearly an attempt to make defence and sovereignty the hinge on which the May election will swing.
While these are important issues they are not the only ones voters should consider when they cast their ballots.
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