The federal government has brought forward its budget to May 3.
The decision was not shared with Cabinet colleagues — never mind Treasury — until the early hours of this morning, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull revealed at a press conference today.
The budget will be moved to allow Opposition Leader Bill Shorten time to give his reply before the deadline of Turnbull’s second bombshell Monday morning: a double dissolution for Saturday, July 2, if the Senate refuses to pass the Australian Building and Construction Commission bill.
The cross-bench will have an additional three weeks to do so from April 18, with Turnbull requesting the Governor-General recall parliament to resume debate on the ABCC bill and the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) bill.
However, in responding to journalists, Turnbull categorically ruled out calling a double dissolution on any other bill if the ABCC bill is passed.
The announcement has ended weeks of speculation that has vexed officials planning for both the budget and the election.
— Australian Treasury (@Treasury_AU) March 20, 2016
- Parliament to resume: Monday, April 18
- Federal budget release: Tuesday, May 3
- Last date for the Senate to pass ABCC bill: Thursday, May 5
- Caretaker period begins for double dissolution election: Wednesday, May 11
- Double dissolution election polling day: Saturday, July 2