Anthony Albanese has stated that he does not “anticipate” that Australians will go to the election this year. However, he has not ruled out the possibility of a future double dissolution election happening if the impasse about a significant housing measure is not resolved.
The declaration that the prime minister will bring the legislation for the Housing Australia Future Fund (Haff) into the parliament the following week, with a vote in the lower house scheduled for October, has set up a trigger for a double dissolution. The prime minister made the announcement after the legislation was unable to clear the Senate in June.
The Coalition immediately stated that they would not be supporting the bill. Therefore, it was left up to the government to negotiate with the Greens and the crossbench in the Senate. After extensive discussions, the crossbenchers, which include the Jacqui Lambie Network and David Pocock, have reached an agreement on the legislation; however, the Greens have decided not to support it because they believe that more work needs to be done on renters’ rights.
During a press conference that was held in a seat that is now controlled by the Green Party, Christopher Albanese initially stated that he did not “anticipate” an election taking place before the end of this year.
Later, when asked to rule out a double dissolution election altogether, he stated that one would not be called this year, but he did not rule out the possibility of taking up the option of an election early the following year.
“Well, they won’t be going to the polls this year, but we’re determined to get this legislation passed – we want it to be passed,” he added. “Well, the elections won’t be held this year.” “I’m afraid I can’t be any more serious.”
Albanese stated that the government had a clear mandate for the housing fund because it was an election commitment. He also stated that passing the legislation was the only way to “ensure this doesn’t provide a trigger.”
He stated that the Green Party’s continued opposition to the measure was a political tactic and accused the Greens of doing so. “We don’t want to play politics with this,” he remarked.
Albanese accused the Coalition of taking a page from “the Tony Abbott playbook” and saying “no to everything” in their response to issues.
“This is a sensible reform that has the support of the housing industry, has the support of the building sector, has the support of community and social housing providers, and has the support of Acoss and the welfare sector,” he added. “This is a sensible reform that has the support of the building sector.”
They ought to be on board with this piece of legislation as well. In my opinion, this is the least controversial thing that we have done in this parliament compared to everything else that we have done.
An earlier statement made by Sussan Ley, acting leader of the opposition, stated that “Threatening the Australian people with an early election because Labor’s policies don’t stack up is the height of arrogance from Anthony Albanese.”
The Greens and the Coalition were able to prevent the government from passing the bill through the Senate before the holiday break. The administration’s initial attempt to do so was unsuccessful. “allow time for national cabinet to progress reforms to strengthen renters’ rights” was the goal of the Green Party’s proposed motion.
By reintroducing the legislation in the house, Albanese is laying the stage for the possibility that the bill would fail in the Senate for a second time. This is the event that must occur before a government may ask the governor general to dissolve both chambers of parliament and call a snap election.
If a piece of government legislation fails to pass the parliament twice within a period of three months, the prime minister has the authority under the constitution to ask for a double dissolution of parliament. The three-month requirement will be satisfied when the law is put up for a vote in the House of Representatives in October, as promised by Albanese.
The Haff law establishes a $10 billion future fund that will invest and pay out earnings of at least $500 million per year to invest in social and affordable housing. These investments will be made using the earnings of the fund.
In a last-ditch effort to get the law passed before the holiday break, the government also announced a $2 billion direct social housing investment, which has already begun to trickle down to the states and territories. This was the government’s attempt to get the legislation over the line before the holiday break.
In April, the Albanese government requested that the national cabinet and housing ministers investigate renters’ rights. The Greens have high hopes that this would result in either a rent freeze or a rent cap similar to that of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
However, Labor has not yet complied with the Green Party’s request to establish a fund with a minimum of one billion dollars to serve as an incentive for states and territories to implement a rent freeze for a period of two years.