In addressing his colleagues in Parliament yesterday morning, Browne said, “This sitting, unless there are any extenuating circumstances, will be the last sitting of the Lower House until the next general elections.”
The prime minister did not indicate when parliament would be dissolved, which must first be done before the election is called, and once dissolved, the election must be conducted within three months of the dissolution date.
He, however, said, “Those of you who brag about readiness, we will see,” while he dismissed suggestions from “individuals on the radio proclaiming…they are pretty sure the elections will not be called before November or December of this year.”
“Well, I want to say to those individuals that they need to disabuse their minds of any such notion, because the reality is, the elections will be within a matter of weeks,” the prime minister confirmed.
He made the aforementioned comments as he moved a Resolution by the House of Representative for the approval of a Draft Order by the Governor General to give effect to the Report of the Constituencies Boundaries Commission.
The report, which was filed in December 2017 in anticipation of early elections, did not propose any changes to the constituency boundaries.
Browne thanked the Commission for its work and for “taking seriously” his comments over the past nine months about early elections.
He said the Commission made a good decision not to propose changes to the boundaries.
The prime minister read a synopsis of the report that indicated, “The Commission has been working diligently on its mandate and had set a timetable for consultation and finalisation of its Report for presentation to the Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament by the 31st of May, 2018.”
It continued, “In light of the above, should early general elections be called prior to the constitutionally due date of June 2019, the commission hereby recommends that no change or changes be made to any of the constituency’s boundaries…”
Browne said that the Commission considered that any change or changes would be disruptive to the conduct of an early election.
Commissioner Linley Winter did not sign the Report, but instead submitted a minority report. The details of that report were not made public.
But, Browne commented on it, saying that he had no idea why Winter would think that information about an early election was unreliable when he (Browne), who has the power to call early elections, has been speaking of doing so since June 2017.
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