February 12th, 2009 at 06:53pm
A couple hours ago, independent Senator Nick Xenophon joined the coalition in opposing the Rudd Government’s $42 billion economic stimulus package. Senator Xenophon’s move locked the vote at 35 votes for and 35 votes against the package, which means that it has been blocked.
But this isn’t good enough for Kevin Rudd who has decided that, if the Senate don’t vote the right way the first time, perhaps they will the second time around. He’s reintroducing the same legislation in the House of Representatives so that it can be debated in the Senate again tomorrow.
I don’t see how the stimulus package will be passed in its current form, so I can only assume that Mr. Rudd intends on pushing it through any way possible. If it fails to be passed this time, then he will be well on the way to a trigger for a double dissolution…and until that three month period is reached, he can just keep introducing the same bill over and over and over. It’s certainly the impression that he gave when he told the parliament that he will not be deterred from taking “whatever action is necessary” in the national economic interest.
If Mr. Rudd were to take this all the way to a double dissolution, it would certainly be a very bold election promise: “Vote for me and I’ll give you $950…err $900 due to the amendments.” It would probably be very popular, and it would certainly test Malcolm Turnbull’s ability to both effectively argue against the stimulus package and make the electorate like his own policies.
Whatever happens, we’re in for some interesting times in the near future.