By Andrew Bolt ~
The Turnbull Government has no tax plan. It has no spending plan. It has no industrial relations plan.
All it has is a plan to rush to an early election, so that it can quickly do more nothing.
Here are the problems with a July 2 double dissolution election. First, because parliament needs to be dissolved by May 11, the day after the current budget date, the campaign would be exceedingly long at about eight weeks. This would be most unwise for the Prime Minister… Given Turnbull has never conducted a campaign as leader (same as Bill Shorten), let alone as PM, an extraordinarily long campaign maximises the potential for something serious to go wrong for the frontrunner.
Nobody watching the government over the past month should downplay this risk…
Second, the logistical and timetable problems are severe and have led to serious consideration about bringing forward the budget by one week, from May 10 to May 3. This has advantages but, once announced, it would signal the certainty of the double dissolution election, making the campaign even longer and putting everybody on notice. That is unlikely to favour Turnbull.
Third, Turnbull faces a conundrum since the reason for a double dissolution election is to enable the government to secure passage of its obstructed bills, yet the most critically obstructed measure – the resurrection of the ABCC [Australian Building and Construction Commission] – is still not on the list. Do not fall for government propaganda that the ABCC bills have already met the double “failure to pass” test. They haven’t in the view of most constitutional experts. It would be folly for Turnbull to advise Governor-General Peter Cosgrove to grant a double dissolution based on the current status of the ABCC bills.
The Turnbull government has come to such an impasse that senior cabinet ministers do not know what is happening about something as fundamental as the date of the budget or the likelihood of an early election on July 2.
As cabinet met in Adelaide last night, there were senior cabinet ministers not knowing how to read the comments of Malcolm Turnbull and Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer, which had left open the possibility of bringing forward the budget by a week to May 3 and the calling of a double-dissolution election for July 2…
MPs, ministers and party strategists are alive with the prospect that the Prime Minister is considering bringing forward the budget to allow a range of legislative steps to be taken to provide a double-dissolution election trigger over the building industry corruption watchdog, ensure the passage of money bills to keep the government functioning and to allow the delivery of a budget-cum-tax statement to take to the election.
Yet at the National Press Club yesterday, Michaelia Cash, the Employment Minister and Minister for Women, was adamant the budget would be on May 10.
Dare I say that the raggedness of the planning and the mixed messages of ministers suggests a lack of a Peta Credlin to whip people into line? There is a real lack of discipline here.
Essential’s poll confirms that of Newspoll yesterday: the Liberals and Labor are tied at 50:50.
If Turnbull slips behind, watch out. The media narrative will change dramatically for the worse.
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.