Ab­bott averse to early bal­lot

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - STEVEN SCOTT

TONY Ab­bott says he does not want an early elec­tion but has left open the op­tion if he can­not pass tougher work­place re­la­tions laws.

Talk­ing down the prospect of an early rush to the polls, Mr Ab­bott in­sisted the Par­lia­ment was work­ing well and he did not want to cut it short.

De­scrib­ing the last fort­night of Par­lia­ment be­fore the win­ter break as the “best” since he was elected, Mr Ab­bott said the media was “hy­per­ven­ti­lat­ing” about a pos­si­ble early elec­tion.

“Can I just say that we’ve had the best fort­night in the life of this Par­lia­ment,” Mr Ab­bott said

“We’ve just had a fort­night where a lot of leg­is­la­tion was passed, where some $ 14 bil­lion worth of much- needed sav­ings were re­alised through sen­si­ble de­ci­sions at last by the Greens and by the La­bor Party to sup­port Gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives.

“Why would you want to close the Par­lia­ment down just when it’s start­ing to work?”

But Mr Ab­bott said he wanted the Se­nate to pass two Bills putting tougher guide­lines on unions and re- es­tab­lish­ing the Howard gov­ern­ment- era build­ing in­dus­try watchdog.

“I don’t want our work­place re­la­tions leg­is­la­tion blocked,” he said. “I want to see union­ism in this coun­try cleaned up.”

Both Bills have been blocked once and could pro­vide a trig­ger for a dou­ble dis-

Can I just say that we’ve had the best fort­night in the life of this Par­lia­ment

TONY AB­BOTT

so­lu­tion elec­tion if they are re­jected again.

A re­newed fo­cus on these Bills would also al­low the Gov­ern­ment to cap­i­talise on Bill Shorten’s re­cent stum­bles and grilling by the royal com­mis­sion into union cor­rup­tion.

La­bor, the Greens and key cross­benchers are likely to vote the mea­sures down, cre­at­ing a trig­ger for a dou­ble dis­so­lu­tion elec­tion if the Gov­ern­ment wanted one.

The Gov­ern­ment needs a Bill re­jected twice by the Se­nate in the same form if it wants to go to an elec­tion late this year or early 2016.

The Coali­tion is still be­hind in opin­ion polls but has nar­rowed the mar­gin in its pri­mary vote and some in the Gov­ern­ment want an early elec­tion if this trend con­tin­ues.

Mr Shorten said he would welcome an elec­tion bat­tle on work­place re­la­tions.

Mr Shorten said he was “happy to com­pare my record of stand­ing up for work­ers against his record of cut­ting away the con­di­tions of mil­lions of Aus­tralians.”

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