Brandis says govt prepared to go to polls

The government is prepared to take the Senate’s rejection of its union legislation to the Australian people, Attorney-General George Brandis says.


But he says Australia won’t really be in an election campaign until parliament is dissolved and writs for an election are issued.

As well, the government plans to deliver its budget on May 3.

Senator Brandis said the government believed restoring the Australian Building and Construction Commission was a very important element of its economic reform package.

“So, for us, this is about good policy and we are a government that is prepared, if we can’t get the Senate by majority to agree with us, to take it to the people,” he told ABC Television.

Senator Brandis said the Senate’s rejection of the legislation to restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission gave the government constitutional grounds to call a double dissolution election.

That’s on top of an earlier trigger from the Senate’s rejection of legislation relating to registered organisations.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull threatened to call a double dissolution if the Senate rejected the ABCC bill for a second time and if he sticks to his word, the nation will go to the polls on July 2.

Latest polls give Labor a fair chance at winning but Senator Brandis said that was nothing unusual.

He said almost all Australian elections fell within the 52-48 margin and 53-47 margin was regarded as a landslide.

“So all Australian elections are extremely contestable by both sides. There is nothing new about that. As we move into the home stretch, you would expect the race to tighten because that is what always happens,” he said.

Opposition Senate leader Penny Wong said Labor was ready.

She said the opposition was well aware of Mr Turnbull’s plan for an early poll and had learned from the period of disunity last time it was in power.

“We have been rolling out policy a lot more than most oppositions have on schools, health, on education, on jobs and those are the things that this election will be fought on,” she told ABC Television.