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Malcolm Turnbull signals to party room an August election campaign likely

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has told his colleagues to expect to be campaigning in the next federal election within six months.

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The comments, made in a closed door party room meeting on Tuesday morning and relayed to Fairfax Media, indicate Mr Turnbull is considering calling a poll in August and that the election day would therefore be held in September.

But the Prime Minister also told colleagues on Tuesday morning that a double dissolution election remains a live option to push through key pieces of industrial relations legislation during a joint sitting of both houses after the election.

Liberal Party federal director Tony Nutt also addressed the party room meeting about the 2016 election.

Mr Nutt told MPs it was important, in the election year, to sharpen the distinctions between the two major parties and that the Coalition had to "beat the French", a reference to the defeat of Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo in 1815.


Mr Turnbull's comments tally with previous public commentary from the prime minister about the timing of the election.

On Friday, Mr Turnbull said "there is a budget in May...and there will be an election, you know, all other things being equal, in August, September, October".

If an election is called before July, a double dissolution must be held.

The two pieces of legislation the government wants to push through are bills that would re-establish the Australian Building and Construction and Commission - this bill is due to re-enter the lower house on Tuesday morning but will face difficulty passing through the Senate, having been knocked back once already - and a bill to establish a Registered Organisations Commission that will strengthen union governance requirements.

This bill is already a double dissolution trigger.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash will this week allow crossbench senators who blocked the ABCC legislation the first time around to view the confidential volume from the Heydon royal commission's final report in a bid to win their support for the bill.

One Labor and one Greens MP will also be allowed the view the document, which will be redacted to protect witnesses named in the report and because of ongoing police investigations.

Mr Turnbull's comments also come amid indications the government's tax reform package is still some way off and that it may well not be released until after the May budget.

Behind the scenes, election campaign planning is in full swing, with Labor having established a party headquarters and the Liberals well-advanced too.

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