BREAKING NEWS: Malcolm Turnbull has announced an early budget and the DD
Well, may we say, God Save the Queen. For nothing will save the Australian public from being stuffed around so much with this double dissolution business.
This morning, in breaking news, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that he will call an early election after an early May budget (moved forward – fit in the opposition reply) if the Coalition’s industrial relations legislation bills don’t pass the tightly locked senate.
Mr Turnbull has asked the Governor-General to dissolve both houses of parliament on April 18th if the “Registered Organisations” bill and Australian Building and Construction Commission reintroduction can’t get through the Senate and pass into law.
Turnbull has said all along that this is not part of a re-election strategy, that it is just taking advantage of the proper machinations of the Constitution in order to pass legislation.
The Australian Constitution states if a bill does not pass through both houses of parliament and into law after it has been rejected twice within three months, then the prime minister of the day is entitled to call upon the Governor-General to dissolve both houses of parliament.
The idea behind this is that when the house is re-elected, the stubborn senators, mostly belonging to micro-parties, will have lost their seats and new senators will take their place.
If the legislation is blocked for a final time, the Prime Minister will hold a joint sitting of parliament, where both houses meet and vote together. It is in this scenario where the much smaller senate will have no majority because the Coalition has a substantial majority in the lower house.
With the recent changes to the senate voting legislation, this will be almost assured. Last week, the senate debated for a mammoth 38 hours about the changes to the senate voting legislation.
After the debate and the voting-legislation was changed, the coalition has made it almost certainly impossible for micro-parties to be re-elected to office without a high primary vote.
And it is the micro parties, labor and the Greens that were blocking the senate from passing the Coalition’s industrial relations legislation.
In short, Turnbull has made it almost impossible for senators to block his legislation by changing the voting laws. He has called an early election, on the presumption that the senate continues to block his laws. And once the election is held and the Senators lose their seats, his legislation will slide smoothly through the senate like the gently oiled thumb of a proctologist during an exam.