Rudd refuses to rule out double dissolution

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says he takes a “conservative” approach to an early election but won\’t rule out using a double dissolution to force a new vote.

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Family First senator Steve Fielding has called on the government to immediately debate a new bill on its alcopops legislation, which was originally defeated in March.

Instead, the government is giving itself until after June 18 to reintroduce the bill, which could potentially make it a trigger for a double dissolution election if it fails again.

Mr Rudd refused to be drawn on the timetable for the bill\’s introduction but said he erred on the conservative side when it came to holding early elections.

However, he won\’t rule one out.

“On the broader question of our mandate to serve through this parliamentary term, I have said from the very beginning I have a fundamentally conservative approach to these things, a little like my predecessor,” he told ABC Television.

Integrity of budget at risk

“That is, I believe we were elected to serve a full three-year term.

“However… you\’ve got to ensure that the financial integrity of the budget that we just put before the parliament … is upheld.

“When people start cherry-picking about one bit after another, you\’ve got to be very, very careful that we don\’t put the financial integrity of the budget – long term – at risk.”

Despite his essential conservatism on the issue, Mr Rudd said he was mindful of the “absolute importance of getting our legislative program through”.

“My intention… is to serve the term for which we were elected,” he said.

“But we also have responsibilities and we\’ll continue to prosecute those.”