As Liberal Party director Tony Nutt said recently, for now only God and Malcolm Turnbull know when the election will be held, but Ms Tips gets the impression from those in the know on both sides that both the government and Labor are now preparing for a July 2 election to be called after the budget in May. Expect major policy announcements in the next few weeks from both camps and the legislation the government wants passed before the election in the three-day sitting week later this month. Look at all the reviews to government that will conveniently arrive before the budget.

Attorney-General’s George Brandis’ comment that a plebiscite would be held this year (although Turnbull quickly backtracked) also seems to indicate the government’s thinking on an early election.

As for the double dissolution trigger? Technically the government can argue that by the Senate referring the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner bill to committee, the bill has failed to pass. That is still, of course, open to a challenge from angry crossbench senators in the High Court.

This guessing game is a favourite of journalists in an election year, and it fills many column inches — but everything seems to be falling into place.

Peter Fray

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