Federal Election 2016

8 May 2016
After several weeks of waiting, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier this afternoon visited the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, to officially fire the starting pistol on the 2016 Federal Election. In backing his commitment to call a double dissolution election should the Government’s key pieces of industrial relations legislation not be passed during the special sitting of Parliament last month, Prime Minister Turnbull has requested that both houses of the current Parliament be dissolved and an election held on 2 July.In the first double dissolution in nearly 30 years, the Government is seeking a mandate for the passage of its Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill 2014 and the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013. Should the Government be returned, these Bills can be put to a special joint sitting of the House of Representatives and Senate at the first sitting of the new Parliament.

In making his announcement, the Prime Minister said this election will be very clear choice between the Coalition’s plans for jobs and growth or Labor’s plan for higher taxes which, he said, would hinder the nation’s transition to the new economy. Mr Turnbull again asserted the importance of the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission as ‘vital economic reform’ and critical to the nation’s continued success.

In response, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said this election will be a referendum on jobs, schools, a fairer tax system and keeping Medicare in public hands. Mr Shorten said the Labor Party entered the campaign as underdogs, but stood united and ready for the election.

Tax is shaping up to be a key battleground of this election after Opposition Leader Bill Shorten refused to support Malcolm Turnbull’s business tax cuts, among the most important initiatives in the Government’s budget handed down last Tuesday.

The Senate outcome from this election will be of particular interest, with all 76 Senators vacating their seats under the double dissolution and a new method of voting in place following passage of reforms earlier this year – it is remains to be seen whether these voting changes will significantly re-shape the Senate.

At nearly eight weeks, this will be one of the longest election campaigns in the nation’s history beaten only by Robert Menzies’ 94-day campaign in 1954, an era before television, social media and the 24-hour news cycle. A lengthy campaign is not without risk for the Prime Minister and will challenge the Coalition’s perseverance and ability to maintain momentum – and the public’s interest.


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