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Explainer: Pulling the double dissolution trigger is harder than you think

Anne Twomey writes on ABC’s The Drum (4.3.16) about the preconditions for and the history of calling a double dissolution federal election in Australia. She argues that the chance for the Turnbull Government to dissolve both houses and go to an early federal election may have passed, but probably to its relief in any event.

‘Has the Government missed a chance to call a double dissolution on its union watchdog legislation? History shows it might not matter. Still, there’s a reason double dissolution threats are often not carried out. Anne Twomey walks us through the minefield.

‘Pulling the trigger on a double dissolution can be dangerous. Not only is there a considerable risk that the lower quota needed to election 12 Senators in a State will result in a Senate resembling the famous bar-scene from Star Wars, but there is also a technical minefield that must be picked through.

‘… It may be that, given these technical problems, the Turnbull Government takes the view that it is all too hard to pull the double dissolution trigger and waits it out for a general election later in the year. If so, it would be in line with most other Governments, for which threats of double dissolutions, though numerous, have been all sound and fury, signifying nothing.’

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