Turnbull set to pull trigger on 11 week campaign

UPDATE: Opposition leader Bill Shorten says "budget repair" will be part of Labor's offering when Australians hit the polls in July. 

"Budget repair is an important part of any alternative government" Mr Shorten said this afternoon after setting out what essentially sounded like his party's election platform.  

 "Australians are sick of a Prime Minister that dithers and doesn't deliver," he said before adding he had believed when Mr Turnbull and the Liberal Party knifed Tony Abbott his job would be made harder but in fact Turnbull's poor performance had made it easier. 

"Labor is committed to nation building, we are committed to making sure our cities, our towns and our regions are connected by rail and road," he said. 

Earlier today Fairfax MP Clive Palmer said he believed he was the best chance to win the seat of Fairfax on Sunshine Coast but if someone as likely to succeed as him could be found he would run for the senate.

Recent polls have set Mr Palmer's level of support in the seat as about 2%. 

UPDATE: PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed his intention to call a double dissolution for July 2, kicking off a marathon 11-week campaign.

Mr Turnbull told assorted media in Canberra that his intention was to ask the Governor-General to dissolve both houses of parliament at some stage after he hands down his first federal budget, 

"My intention is after the Budget, an appropriate time after the Budget has been delivered," Mr Turnbull said.

"I will be asking the Governor-General to dissolve both houses of the parliament for an election which I expect to be held on 2 July."

It follows the Senate last night rejected the government's bills on reinstate a building industry watchdog and greater union controls, after the government voted down a series of amendments put by crossbench senators.

While Mr Turnbull still has to officially write to the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, to get the ball rolling on the official election campaign, while unofficial campaigning has already begun.

At 8.29pm yesterday Opposition Leader Bill Shorten took to Twitter in an attempt to hone voter's focus into the idea the contest was between the LNP and big business and Labor "putting people first."

LAST NIGHT: The Federal Senate has voted down the Turnbull Government's Australian Building and Construction Commission  legislation meaning a double dissolution election trigger is now poised under the finger of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. 

EXPLAINER: What a double dissolution election means for you

The government lost the vote on the motion to reinstate the ABCC by 36-34 with crossbenchers Jacqui Lambie, Glenn Lazarus, Ricky Muir and John Madigan siding with Labor and the Greens.

The likely date for the election is widely touted to be July 2.

The vote comes on the same day as a Fairfax-Ipsos poll stated the Coalition and Labor are set to split the primary vote 50/50 - the worst polling result since Mr Turnbull rolled Tony Abbott for the top job.  

Most sources say the Prime Minister will now wait until after the budget is delivered on May 3 before going to the Governor General and asking to take Australia back to the polling booths. 

Under a double dissolution election every senate seat is contested where normally only half of them are voted on. 

One senator affected by this is Queensland's Glenn Lazarus who was quick to express his disappointment. 

"Unfortunately getting a trigger for a double dissolution election is more important for this government than doing a good job for Australians,"  Mr Lazarus told the ABC shortly after the vote.

"This could be the last week that I'm a senator but I'm very hopeful I might get re-elected so I can continue to keep this government honest." 



Labor's Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Brendan O'Connor  also hit out at the move characterising it as dishonest. 

"The Prime Minister and his Liberal team thought they could bluff and bully the Parliament into passing the Bill, they were wrong," Mr O'Connor said. 

"The Prime Minister and his Liberal team will now try and bluff and bully the Australian public into believing their lies. It won't work, Australians are much smarter than Mr Turnbull gives them credit for.

"Malcolm Turnbull claims a double-dissolution is not a political tactic but his government's lies about the ABCC Bills prove that it is.

"Labor is ready for an election and will continue fight for workers and the conditions they rely on; Mr Turnbull and his Liberals will fight for big business and cuts to penalty rates."

Opposition Senate Leader Penny Wong said Australians had not seen much from Mr Turnbull on issues people care about.



The Prime Minister's office said Mr Turnbull would not be making a statement about the ABCC bills or a double dissolution on Monday evening.


Building community disappointed by decision

Building and construction industry association Master Builders Australia said it was deeply disappointed, but not surprised, by the decision to again vote down the ABCC bills.

"The return of the ABCC is fundamental in ridding the construction industry of the building unions ability (to) ply their fear, intimidation and bullying and to impose special deals on contractors and subcontractors where the community is punished by having to pay up to 30% more for schools and hospitals," CEO Wilhelm Harnisch said.

He said Master Builders would continue to campaign for "the tough cop on the beat".


Property group says Senate votes for "lawlessness"

The Property Council said the Senate's decision to block the re-establishment of the ABCC illustrated the Senate was acting as though Australia was still in the middle of a boom. 

"This was a vote for lawlessness in the construction industry," chief executive Ken Morrison said.

"Australia must pay close attention to productivity and reform, otherwise we will pay a high price in terms of living standards, jobs and our capacity as a country to pay our way.

"The construction sector is vital to our economy - yet we see two-thirds of all disputes in the construction sector."


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