Environment

Oct 13, 2011

Abbott’s gory pledge would be a legal bloodbath

Tont Abbott’s hyperbole has certainly attracted the headlines, but it betrays a curious tactic, writes Fergus Green, a lawyer and policy analyst specialising in climate change.

81 comments

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81 thoughts on “Abbott’s gory pledge would be a legal bloodbath

  1. Jimmy

    By the time Abbott can actually call a double dissoulution election he will have been in office almost 2 years, by that time it would hardly be surprising for the electorate to realise that a) all his unfunded promises can not be achieved an b) the carbon tax isn’t the terrible thing they had been lead to believe by Abbott and News Ltd (nice headline in the Herald sun today by the way) which could actually make his winning an election a year earlier than necessary far from guaranteed.

  2. Scott

    “Assuming the next election is held in the second half of 2013, he would need to wait until after the new Senators take office on July 1, 2014 to introduce the repealing legislation the first time”

    Just out of curiosity, why would he have to wait until they take office? Does anyone know if the Australian constitution has an equivalent of a “lame duck session” that is available in the US?

  3. Jimmy

    Scott – “Just out of curiosity, why would he have to wait until they take office?” I assume it is because you can’t say the senate isn’t letting you govern when the senate that has been elected hasn’t actually been sworn in. Why would we go to an election when the effect of the last one hasn’t occurred?

  4. John Reidy

    Scott, I assume he would have to wait until July 1, 2014 to use the repealing legislation as a dissolution trigger.

    Anyway I don’t think this matters, the Coalition have been detached from reality for quite some time.
    If Abbott wins he will modify the scheme – through regulations or get some minor changes through the senate. Or have it morph into an emissions trading scheme – so no more ‘carbon tax’.

    I don’t think he is at all worried about losing his base because he can’t repeal the tax. He assumes (possibly correctly) his base would never vote Labor.

  5. Scott

    Section 57 of the constitution doesn’t make any reference to waiting. The Senate is still running, passing legislation, even if the new senators haven’t taken their seats.

    “Disagreement between the Houses
    If the House of Representatives passes any proposed law, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, and if after an interval of three months the House of Representatives, in the same or the next session, again passes the proposed law with or without any amendments which have been made, suggested, or agreed to by the Senate, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, 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.

    If after such dissolution the House of Representatives again passes the proposed law, with or without any amendments which have been made, suggested, or agreed to by the Senate, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, the Governor‑General may convene a joint sitting of the members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives. “

  6. Liz45

    Abbott also ignores the fact that the Australian people might object to another visit to the polling booth? Particularly when the policies had been in place for a couple of years, and the sun rose and set each day – with wheels still attached to the country?????

  7. gregb

    Yes, but Abbott’s base is not actually enough to win him elections. He needs to keep the punters who are currently uninformed about carbon pricing and supporting him now. They must be willing to go through a DD election just to get rid of a tax that is hardly affecting them and will likely result in tax breaks etc being withdrawn.

  8. SBH

    The finer, or indeed any, points of constitutional law don’t matter in this gambit. It’s Abbott screaming loud and long to the disaffected voters he wants to represent that despite whatever an elected government may do he doesn’t give a sh*t.

    It plays very well to all those voters who oppose a carbon tax or think they would if anyone could do something about it. In the next campaign the promise will be reaffirmed and if it’s done down by the Senate that will be the Senate’s fault. Abbott will then rale , Keating-like, against the Senate and decide in his own time whether a DD is a good idea.

    Scott, Antony Green’s election blog at the ABC has something of an answer. I tried to summarise it but failed.

  9. Modus Ponens

    The carbon tax will be a minor issue at the 2013 election.

    Gold fish memories + 24 news cycle = “look over there!”

  10. Judith

    Thank you, Fergus Green. You have removed the horror I felt when listening to a political commentator
    on ABC Local Radio yesterday morning so soon after feeling that perhaps we had the chance of a “new Australia”.

    Intouch

    To Crikey: What name will this comment be under?

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