Malcolm Turnbull had a bad time with Leigh Sales on 730 last night.
Given the opportunity on national television to state his case for re-election, the best he could say was:
“We are seeing strong business confidence, strong levels of employment growth and that is because my Government’s economic plan is working. I need three more years to complete it. That is what I am seeking from the Australian people.”
Over and over again.
Sales tried to get him to be more specific but Turnbull refused to be drawn. She also tried to draw out on the reasons for his declining popularity. It was a difficult question so, in typical fashion, he fudged it.
Given his fairly simplistic statement about why the coalition should be re-elected (more on this later), it made me think why Malcolm Turnbull has called a double dissolution.
If re-elected and re-elected with a combined majority of both upper and lower houses, he will have a sitting of both houses to pass legislation that is stalled in the Senate:
- University deregulation and funding cut
- Abolition of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and climate changes bodies
- Labor’s funding cuts to higher education
- Wait for the dole
- Childcare package and family tax benefit cuts
- Limiting “double dipping” in paid parental leave
- Charging interest on university loans
- Australian Building and Construction Commission
- Another union oversight body
- Crackdown on environmental “lawfare”
It is by no means certain that you will get this majority. Pollsters who predict a coalition wins suggest that this will be by about 10 seats in the lower house. This means that Malcolm Turnbull we have around 80 of the lower house and at best 33 in the upper house.
If he gets none of the cross bench votes, he will have 113 of 226 (the combined number in the lower and upper houses).
So it is going to be close.
If the coalition loses more than 10 seats or loses Senate seats to the independents and minor parties, then the whole rationale for ordering a double dissolution will fall apart.
But we will need to be very clear.
Australian voters should be certain who they are voting for
A re-elected Coalition government will reintroduce many of the unpopular measures of the 2014 Abbott/ Hockey budget.