From a national viewpoint, the way that the Government handled the matter and the associated discussion on election dates has effectively started the election campaign, leaving Australia with what is now in a practical of not formal sense a caretaker Government. Three months is a long time to be without effective Government.
I have no idea who will win the election or indeed what the Senate itself might finally look like. A month ago I would have strongly favoured the Coalition to win, but now all bets are off. As we saw in Canada or indeed in the last UK election, there can be unexpected results.
One of the Government's problems is that it has lost coherence and direction. You can see the effect in the precipitous fall in Prime Minister Turnbull's approval ratings from previous stratospheric levels down to 39% with a first net negative approval. Opposition Leader Shorten may be still be bobbing along below the PM, but Mr Turnbull must be concerned at the trend..
It's actually difficult to see what Mr Turnbull and the Government might do about this in a practical sense, given the Government's loss of authority. It's very messy all round.
I wondered what you thought about the whole affair, what you think might happen and why?
I hadn't expected that this Forum would coincide with today's announcement. I quote the PM:
Today, I called upon His Excellency the Governor General to advise him to recall both Houses of Parliament on April 18 to consider and pass the Australian Building and Construction Commission Bills and the Registered Organisations Bill and he has made a proclamation to that effect.
I make no apology for interrupting Senators’ seven week break to bring them back to deal with this legislation.
This is an opportunity for the Senate to do its job of legislating rather than filibustering – the go-slows and obstruction by Labor and the Greens on this key legislation must end.
The Senate will have an additional three sitting weeks to deal with the ABCC and Registered Organisations legislation – plenty of time to pass these important laws.
If the Senate fails to pass these laws, I will advise the Governor General to dissolve both Houses of Parliament and issue writs for an election.
Because such a double dissolution must be done on or before the 11th of May, the Government will be bringing the Budget forward to Tuesday 3rd of May so that Mr Shorten will be able to deliver his reply on the Thursday in the usual way.