Get ready for early federal election, Shorten warns Labor MPs

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    BILL Shorten has instructed opposition MPs to begin ramping up their local campaigns in anticipation of an early election.
    The Opposition Leader, addressing his Labor caucus at Parliament House this morning, said the party’s national secretariat had begun preparing for an early election.
    “We cannot assume the government will go full-term because of their instability and division,” Mr Shorten told the MPs.
    Mr Shorten urged members and senators to develop both national and local policy announcements, and for local campaigns to be ready to spring into action.
    Another federal election is not required until 14 January 2017. However, if Tony Abbott were replaced as Prime Minister, the new leader may be eager to seek legitimacy at the ballot box.
    A more unlikely scenario would involve the National Party withdrawing from the Coalition if they were unable to work with a socially progressive prime minister such as Malcolm Turnbull.
    Mr Shorten today said he would be unfazed by an early election or a change of Liberal opponent.
    “It doesn’t matter who the Liberals put in charge — bring it on,” he told ABC Radio.
    “Frankly, what the Liberal Party should do is spend less time worrying about the dress sense of who they pick as leader and more about what they are doing for Australian because I’m afraid they are heading more and more out-of-touch.”
    A double-dissolution election may be called at any time, since the Senate has twice rejected its bid to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
    The government party room is meeting in Canberra today.
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