Australia: On verge of snap elections

BYYasir Rehman


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Yasir Rehman

Amid the unending citizenship fiasco, Prime Minister Turnbull and his coalition government facing lowest acceptance revealed in the latest Newspoll, which would see the Coalition wiped out at an imminent early election.
Australians have delivered a damaging blow to PM Turnbull’s standing as preferred prime minister, cutting his rating from 41 to a new low of 36 per cent and narrowing his lead over Opposition leader Bill Shorten to just two percentage points.

After staging successful coup against Tony Abbott, Turnbull could not manage to seek even simple majority in last elections and relying on corss-benchers for his minority government.
But the recent dilemma of dual citizenship deprived the coalition two of its key members including Deputy PM Joyce Barnby leaving the government holds 73 of the 148 occupied seats in the House of Representatives. Opposition Labor holds 69 seats and the crossbench has five.

Although two crossbenchers – Cathy McGowan and Rebekha Sharkie – have guaranteed support for the government on confidence and supply, yet Ms Sharkie is her under a citizenship cloud.
Opposition Labor is flexing muscle against another five coalition memnbers to take them to High court including Nola Marino, who married an Italian and may have become a dual citizen; Alex Hawke whose mother is Greek; Tony Pasin whose father was Italian; and Ann Sudmalis, who has rejected claims she was a dual British citizen.

On the other hand PM Turnbull is accusing Bill Shorten of running a protection racket for at least four Labor MPs also under doubt who were dual nationals at the time of their confirmation for Parliament.

With heightened accusations among ruling and opposition MPs, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has raised the mercury demanding parliament should be suspended while there were doubts on the eligibility of MPs. She also refused to support same-sex marriage laws until the citizenship status of everyone in parliament is known.

The incumbent parliament has already lost its moral justification to stay and serve the nation till 2019 general elections with every new day brings a new humiliation to government and the House. To save his political standing and to protect the coalition from further disgrace, Turnbull should request the Governor General to dissolve the Parliament and announce the new elections to seek a fresh mandate.