Australia PM invites Senate showdown

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has established a trigger for a so-called double dissolution electionImage copyright
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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has established a trigger for a so-called double dissolution election

Australia will hold an early election if the country’s Senate fails to pass laws aimed at curbing union corruption.

The government has introduced bills to re-establish a construction industry watchdog to the Senate five times.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has asked the Governor-General to recall both houses of parliament on 19 April to deal with the bills.

Failure to pass the laws will provide a trigger for a so-called double dissolution election.

Under Australia’s constitution, a double dissolution is used to break a deadlock between the upper and lower houses of parliament.

To comply with rules regarding parliamentary terms, a double dissolution must be done by 11 May. It would be the first double dissolution election since 1987.

Mr Turnbull is bringing the government’s budget announcement forward to 3 May. If the bills fail to pass the Senate, the election will be held on 3 July.

“The time has come for the Senate to recognise its responsibilities and help advance our economic plans, rather than standing in the way,” Mr Turnbull said.

“The restoration of the ABCC [Australian Building and Construction Commission] is a critical economic reform. The time for playing games is over.”



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