Shorten: Bring on the election
THE federal opposition says it is not afraid of a possible double dissolution election following Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's announcement earlier today that Australia could head to the polls in four months.
Mr Turnbull intends to call a double dissolution election if the senate does not pass critical legislation.
If the bills do not pass through the senate, he said Australia would head to the polls on July 2.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten said Australians had today seen a Prime Minister in "full panic mode".
He said Labor was not consulted on Mr Turnbull's plans.
"…Let me make it clear, we are not afraid of a double dissolution election," Mr Shorten said. "Australians are not afraid of a double dissolution election either. They just want people to get on with their interests, rather than playing political games."
Extra parliament sittings have been set down to occur in April to determine the legislation and the Federal Budget has also been brought forward to May 3.
Treasurer Scott Morrison said he found out about the change of budget date during a cabinet meeting earlier this morning.
He said he was looking forward to it.
One of the pieces of legislation Mr Turnbull seeks to pass through the senate is the bill to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
Senator Glenn Lazarus also spoke to media earlier today in Brisbane and said he did not support this legislation in its current form.
He also said he was not going to be "blackmailed" and "bullied" into making a decision.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland welcomed Mr Turnbull's announcement that Australia would head to the polls unless the legislation is passed.
"In order for the economy to flourish, businesses need certainty and we hope a Federal Election will provide Queensland with a Federal Government with a clear mandate to act," CCIQ advocacy director Nick Behrens said said.
"It is crucial that the political instability resulting from the Senate impasse and the ongoing political game-playing ceases."
EARLIER: PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he will call a double dissolution election if the senate does not pass critical legislation.
Mr Turnbull has fronted the media this morning to announce he would call back both houses of Parliament in an effort to force the passing of reforms that have not passed through the Senate.
The legislation includes re-establishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission and the registered organisations bill.
If the senate does not pass the bills, Mr Turnbull said he could call for double dissolution, which would trigger a double dissolution election on July 2.
He said the senate has an extra three sitting weeks and members would be summoned back in April.
He also said the double dissolution would need to occur by May 11, and he said the Federal Budget would be brought forward to the first week of May.
If called, it would be Australia's first double dissolution election in 32 years.
Mr Turnbull said the time for playing games was over.
He said the Australian Building and Construction Commission legislation had been through five reviews and that it was time to see it passed.
The registered organisations bill seeks to establish a Registered Organisations Commission to investigate and monitor registered organisations.
If they do not pass through and a double dissolution is called, Mr Turnbull said the election on July 2 would be centred around that legislation.
"The time has come to pass the bills," he said.
If the legislation does pass through the Senate, an election will be held later this year.