The Turnbull Government could be set for an election campaign based on union corruption issues.
The Turnbull Government could be set for an election campaign based on union corruption issues. Inga Williams

Turnbull could force ‘deadlock’ for double dissolution

THE Prime Minister has laid out his intentions for a double dissolution, that it be fought on a substantive policy "deadlock", ostensibly one of two bills to re-establish a building industry watchdog or increase union transparency.

Malcolm Turnbull said on Friday that if the Senate voted for the government's two separate union-related bills, then a "we wouldn't even be talking about a double dissolution".

He said that dissolving parliament and forcing a double dissolution was "clearly an option", but that the only reason to "go to a double dissolution is to resolve a deadlock".

While technically true - a double dissolution can only be called on a government bill twice rejected by the Upper House - his comment effectively confirms the government's intention for an election campaign centred on union corruption.

Mr Turnbull said Friday he believed "a July election would not be regarded as early" in the electoral cycle.

Ahead of the final parliamentary sitting week before the budget next week, Labor leader Bill Shorten said a "boring detail" was the fact that the bill to establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission was not listed for debate.

Neither Labor nor the Greens support the government's legislation, and a majority of the Senate crossbench have already declared publicly that they oppose it, leaving the government to force a vote which would hand it another trigger.

The government already has twice-opposed legislation to axe the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which has been an active double dissolution trigger since June 2014.

But that trigger is widely regarding to have less political potency for the Coalition, and would seem at odds with Mr Turnbull's 'innovation' agenda, than a bill to strengthen union governance or oversight.


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