Revised Parliamentary Sitting Times Released

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has released a revised schedule of parliamentary sitting dates.

The schedule now includes the sitting that will begin on April 18 after the parliament is prorogued on April 15.

It shows the House sitting for just the first two days, April 18 and 19. The Senate is shown as sitting for 4 days that week, with 3 days the following week, and both houses sitting for two weeks from May 2. The Budget will be delivered on May 3.

It is unclear what the Senate will do once it meets on April 18. At some stage, it seems certain that an adjournment motion will be moved. The amount of time to be given over to debating the government’s industrial relations bills is unclear. Rejection of the Australian Building and Construction Commission bill would be used by the government to procure a double dissolution. Any attempt to curtail debate would be used to bolster its case for a Section 57 double dissolution on the basis that the Senate has failed to pass the bills.

For a double dissolution to take place, the parliament must be dissolved by, or on, May 11. A Supply Bill will need to be passed before the dissolution to allow the government to continue functioning during the election period and aftermath. A July election would mean the Parliament would be unlikely to meet again before the end of August or early September.

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