Malcolm Turnbull
Malcolm Turnbull

Turnbull talks of early double dissolution election

PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull is determined to keep Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on his toes, after Mr Turnbull this morning told a closed door party room meeting an election could be held ahead of the October deadline.

Mr Turnbull made the comments in his leaders' speech to the first Liberal party room meeting of the year.

He told the party he was considering calling a poll in August, for a September deadline election, but also that a "double dissolution election remains a live option".

While Mr Turnbull and several of his senior frontbenchers have said the government will run full-term, the government was unlikely to move for an election before the May budget.




Instead, the budget was likely to be a centrepiece of the Turnbull Government's re-election campaign as the government looks at building a mandate for tax reforms.

According to a poll out in The Australian today, seven out of 10 voters do not want an early election and believe Malcolm Turnbull should wait until later in the year to send the nation to the polls.

The same poll shows 46 per cent want former Prime Minister Tony Abbott to stay as a member of cabinet or on the backbench.

The Newspoll of 1837 voters taken from last Thursday to Sunday found 26 per cent want the deposed leader to be offered a position in the cabinet by the Prime Minister.


Govt hit by leak of 'talking points' ahead of first day of sittings

The new laws to establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission, have already taken a back seat, to the leaking to the ABC of "talking points" given to all Coalition MPs and Senators last night by the Prime Minister's Office.

The talking points detail specific issues politicians should mention during media interviews, a common practice on both sides of politics in an effort to control the national debate.

Documents leaked to the ABC showed the talking points included "jobs and growth", the government's innovation agenda and a range of issues related to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's past at the Australian Workers Union, which were raised during the Trade Union Royal Commission.

That commission has been central to the government's negotiations with the Senate crossbench in an effort to pass the building industry watchdog laws, in the face of opposition from Labor and the Greens.

Part of those talks involved showing a "confidential" section of the Royal Commission report to some crossbenchers to gain their support.

But after Employment Minister Michaelia Cash yesterday said the government would not be provided to the Opposition or The Greens, the government overnight backflipped.

Instead, the government has offered one MP from each party the chance to read the document, in the presence of public servants, but not to mention the contents to anyone or take notes.

The government is expected to pass the legislation through the House after debate this week, but Senator Cash said yesterday the proposed laws would not be debated in the Senate until the next sittings fortnight in late February.

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