Note conditions governing when Double Dissolutions can be held and how senate compositions may be altered. Nothing can be done quickly as Abbott appears to believe.
May 04, 2012
Updates on Various Matters Political
With a number of political matters looming on the horizon, I thought it was worth providing pointers to some of my past posts that remain relevant to current political issues.
The next year will see elections in the Northern Territory, the ACT and Western Australia. Websites for all three will be published over the next few months. In the meantime I have already published analysis of the new electoral boundaries in both the Northern Territory and Western Australia. (Links at the end of this post.)
There is also heightened possibility of an early Federal election for the House of Representatives held separate from a half-Senate election. There is also continuing discussion on whether the Coalition can win control of the Senate if the Labor government manages to last until the end of its term.
Federal redistributions have been completed in both Victoria and South Australia and I have updated by 2013 Federal electoral pendulum using figures from the Parliamentary Library. You can find the new pendulum with margins for all seats at http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2011/09/2013-australian-electoral-pendulum.html.
A new federal election calculator using this pendulum will be available shortly.
Poor polls and on-going political difficulties for the Gillard government are increasing the likelihood that the current parliament will not last until the end of its term in the second half of 2013.
If the current Labor government falls and an early Federal election is called, it will be for only the House of Representatives along with four Senators representing the ACT and Northern Territory. It is constitutionally impossible to hold a half-Senate election for state Senators before August 2013.
I previously covered when an election could be held in this post. http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2011/08/when-can-an-election-be-held.html
As only the four Territory Senators face the electorate at an early House election, the rest of the Senate remains in place until 30 June 2014. Making the assumption based on polls that the Coalition would win an early election, the new Abbott government would face the current Senate controlled by Labor and the Greens.
A half-Senate election would then have to be held some time between late 2013 and May 2014. The new government could call an early House election to keep terms in line, or allow a separate half-Senate election to be held on its own for the first time since 1970.
Much more likely is that an Abbott government elected at a separate House election would set out to get one or more double dissolution triggers that would allow it to hold a double dissolution election in place of the half-Senate election.
The dissolution of both the House and the Senate for a double dissolution cannot take place in the last six months of the term of the House. In the current Parliament that means before 27 March 2013. The double dissolution election could be held up to nine weeks after that date. This is extremely unlikely to occur.
However, an early House election re-sets the cut-off date for a double dissolution for two years and six months after the House first sits after the election. An early House election would force an Abbott government to live with the existing Senate, but would also give it much greater flexibility to engineer a double dissolution for late 2013 or the first half of 2014.
I have not written a post on the possible outcome of a double dissolution election as it would require speculation on the various levels of party support 6-12 months into the term of an Abbott government.
However, I have written a post on the possibility of the Coalition winning control of the Senate if the current Labor government lasts through until the second half of 2012 and calls a normal House and half-Senate election.
It is very tough for the Coalition to win control of the Senate via a half-Senate election, but all the possibilities can be found at the following post. http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2011/09/can-the-coalition-win-control-of-the-senate-through-a-half-senate-election.html.