The Abbott government plans to give itself the option of calling a double-dissolution election based on trade union corruption when Parliament resumes in mid-August. Banking on its Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption inflicting reputational damage on Labor leader Bill Shorten, the government will use the resumption of Parliament to put two bills before the Senate that seek to curb union excess. The bills would restore the powers of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, which were diluted by the previous Labor government, and subject corrupt officials of unions and employers’ groups to the same penalties that apply to corrupt business executives.
The government, which wants the option of an early election, has no meaningful trigger for calling a double-dissolution election, which it must hold if it wants to go to the polls before mid-July next year. If the bills on the ABCC and registered organisations are rejected by the Senate again, the latter would become a trigger as it has been rejected before.
The government also plans to reintroduce the previosuly-rejected bill to deregulate university fees, giving itself another trigger.