Did You Know
Did You Know
Australia will hold an early election in July if the Senate fails to pass two industrial relations bill.
The Senate has rejected bills that aim to re-establish a construction industry watchdog and regulate how unions are managed.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has now asked the governor-general to recall both houses of parliament on 19 April to deal with the measures.
Failure to pass the laws will provide a double dissolution election trigger.
"The time has come for the Senate to recognise its responsibilities and help advance our economic plans, rather than standing in the way," Mr Turnbull said.
"This was the fifth review the bills have undergone.
"The restoration of the ABCC [Australian Building and Construction Commission] is a critical economic reform. The time for playing games is over."
Mr Turnbull is also bringing the government's budget announcement forward to 3 May.
What is a double dissolution?
Australia's upper house (Senate) can reject legislation proposed by its lower house. A double dissolution is a mechanism that allows deadlocks to be resolved. When a bill is repeatedly blocked in the Senate, it becomes a "trigger" for the double dissolution, allowing the prime minister to ask for both houses to be dissolved.
What are the two bills?
The ABCC bill seeks to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission, a watchdog created to monitor the actions of unions.
Kevin Rudd's Labor government axed the commission in 2007. Labor and the Greens oppose its re-establishment, so the Coalition government needs support from six of eight crossbenchers for the bill to pass. In February, four crossbenchers supported the bill.
The Registered Organisations bill seeks to hold unions to higher standards of transparency and accountability.
What's different this time?
Last week the government passed legislation to change the way senators are selected. The changes are complex, but essentially mean politicians from so-called micro parties - which campaign on a limited platform - will struggle to get elected.
Micro party senators who hold the balance of power in the upper house have proven a headache for the Coalition.
In a double dissolution election, all Senate seats are contested, which means some crossbenchers are at risk of losing their seats. In a normal election, only half of the seats are contested, so self-interest may compel some crossbenchers to support the ABCC bill.
Australians were due to go to the polls before the end of the year.
But to comply with rules on parliamentary terms, the double dissolution must take place by 11 May. It would be the first since 1987.
If the bills fail to pass the Senate, the election would then be held on 2 July.
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, who supported the new Senate voting rules, called Mr Turnbull's decision to recall parliament and move forward the budget "a nifty and cunning manoeuvre".
"Well, well, well, if you thought last week was ugly in the Senate, you ain't seen nothing yet," Mr Xenophon said.
Family First senator Bob Day told Sky News that Mr Turnbull's move to recall parliament was "too clever by half".
"They won't get the ABCC through and they won't clear out the minor parties and independents from the Senate so they'll get neither of the things that they're after," Senator Day said.