Australians will likely go to the polls in a double dissolution election on July 2, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed.
Mr Turnbull said the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) reforms, twice rejected by the Senate, would be “a trigger for a double dissolution election”.
He said that it was up to Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove to officially agree with his request for an election, when it was made following the budget.
“After the budget, I will advise the Governor-General to dissolve both houses of parliament and I will advise him to call an election on the second of July,” he said.
“The Governor-General will consider that request, that advice, and he will make a decision … and that is why I say I expect there to be an election on the second of July.”
But Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the Prime Minister had hesitated in naming an election date and said voters needed more than “weasel words”.
“Nine times, including as recently as Sunday, he said this election would be on July 2,” Mr Shorten said.
Mr Shorten said Labor was ready for a July election and Labor had “spent the past 900-plus days” planning.
Mr Turnbull said it would be a “very good assumption” to expect a vote on July 2, but stopped short of calling an election and confirming the date.
ABCC fate in public’s hands: Turnbull
The Prime Minister described the restoration of the ABCC as a “very important part” of his party’s economic plan.
“When we go to election, the Australian people will decide whether there should be an Australian Building and Construction Commission,” he said.
“You see, a double dissolution election is about giving the people their say.”
The bill to re-establish the ABCC was voted down for the second time on Monday night, 36-34, handing the government its trigger for a double dissolution election.
Crossbench senators Bob Day, Dio Wang, David Leyonhjelm and Nick Xenophon sided with the government, which was defeated by the Opposition, Greens and remaining crossbenchers.
Both houses will rise on Tuesday afternoon and not return until budget week, a decision which has been criticised by the Opposition.
Senate Opposition Leader Penny Wong today accused Coalition senators of filibustering, while the House of Representatives saw debate on Labor motions gagged.