Hmmmm, AM I RISKING A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS?
Four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, has returned to the fray over concern that the integrity of news dissemination is continually being threatened by a partisan media.
Last Saturday night Senator Brandis was attending a local council election victory party in Brisbane, he was telling everyone who would listen that a Double Dissolution date would be announced on Monday.
Incredibly, as a result, the date of the budget needed to be changed by Brandis and Turnbull without the knowledge of, or consultation with, an embarrassed Treasurer Morrison. This alone highlights the dysfunction of the Turnbull Government. Treasurer Morrison was still unaware of the budget change on Monday morning .
It also highlights the gulf that has developed between both men.
As noted here on these pages often, a DD could only have been carried out in September of last year. The reason the tactic will not work now is that it may be Constitutionally too late!
Turnbull and Brandis may wish to read further than Section 5 because Section 57 says clearly that,
“...The Governor-General may dissolve the Senate and the House of Representatives simultaneously. But such dissolution shall not take place within six months before the date of the expiry of the House of Representatives by effluxion of time.”
The last general election was September 7, 2013 and Turnbull’s DD election date is July 2, 2016. Barely three months!
Now, when exactly is the date of the expiration of a Government? Section 28 of the Constitution states, “Every House of Representatives shall continue for three years from the first meeting of the House, and no longer....” If the argument is sufficient to refer it to the High Court for determination, then time will certainly become an issue.
The term, "From the first meeting" (sitting) gives the DD more time but ample opportunity is available to Senators to delay the process of passing the legislation using filibusters or applying to the High Court. As long as the Bills in question aren't ignored, there is no time limit on their passing.
There are many other ways to delay the Turnbull “masterstroke” and render it to the rubbish bin of history. This is a high risk ploy by Turnbull because time is on the Senate's side.
Members of both Houses of Parliament will now be doing everything possible to derail Turnbull’s and Brandis’s belated thought bubble. Stand by for a Constitutional shit fight that could surpass Malcolm Fraser’s!
Will Turnbull again have to go cap in hand to the Queen’s representative? How he must hate that!