With the spectacular self-immolation of the Liberal Party this week (see the spill Twitter chatter here), speculation about a double dissolution on climate change is mounting.
Last night, several political insiders expressed their belief that it was in Labor’s interests to go to a double dissolution when (if?) the Liberals delay the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) on Monday.
The view expressed is that if a DD was held, it would focus on leadership, rather than climate change or the CPRS. With polls showing catastrophic losses for the Liberals, they would be effectively reduced to a rump in the Lower House. Only their more reactionary elements (the Abbotts, Minchins, Abetzs and Mirabellas) would remain, rendering them unelectable for a generation. With the Greens with the balance of power, Labor would still be able to get things through, with the flexibility to turn to the Greens or Liberals, and avoid the fringe elements of the Xenophon No Pokies Party (who would get two senators from SA) and the Fielding Family First senator (who would replace a Liberal rather than Labor senator). (I should note that this theory was expressed before Possum’s cogent post on this issue.)
With ABCC election expert Antony Green holding the view that a DD is unlikely, Rudd has come out to rule it out:
“I’ve been elected by the Australian people to implement our mandate including the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. We intend to get on with the business of doing that,” he said.
“I’ve said consistently going back a long long time that my belief is the Australian people expect us to fill a full term. My view on that has not changed.”
He says he expects the Opposition to keep its commitment.
“Our strong and continuing resolve as a Government is to serve our full elected term,” he said.
“My expectation is the negotiated bi-partisan deal on climate change in Australia passes the Australian Senate and passes the Australian Parliament.”
Of course, this could still see an “early” (half-senate) election in around August (or after July 1). Whoever emerges as Liberal leader from the party room meeting on Tuesday, is likely to face an electoral rout. Rudd can only get stronger from waiting until the earliest he can go for a half-senate election. Disunity really is death.