Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley has accused the federal government of acting at the “height of arrogance” over threats of a double dissolution if its $10bn housing policy fails to pass the upper house for the second time.
Mr Albanese said the government would reintroduce the Bill into the House of Representatives once parliament resumed next week and put the bill to the Senate for the second time.
If it is rejected for a second time in three months, it would fulfil the requirements needed for a double dissolution.
If the government chooses to call for the election, all senate seats would be up for election.
As it stands, the Bill was rejected by the Coalition and the Greens in June after they argued the Bill’s social housing provisions didn’t go far enough.
Appearing alongside Education Minister Jason Clare on Sunrise, Ms Ley said the government should focus on tackling inflation instead of making “threats about an early election”.
“Threatening the Australian people with an early election is the height of arrogance,” she said.
“The policy does not stack up. Meanwhile, the economy-wrecking approach is making it more and more expensive to build a home.”
In a fiery back-and-forth, she was then accused by Mr Clare of “lying to the Australian people”. Undeterred, Ms Ley doubled down on her attack.
“Just listen to Jason (Clare) not actually admit that this is about threatening the Australian people with early double dissolution. What arrogance when people are struggling,” she said.
“Focus on the cost of living crisis. Focus on the people who are hurting. I am seeing them every day. Focus on Australian, everyday Australians,” she said.
Although Mr Albanese did not directly say he would call for a double dissolution, he flagged on Thursday the government would “use every opportunity to deliver the social and affordable housing that this fund will provide”.
The Bill aims to inject about 30,000 new social and affordable homes into the market over five years.
“We will use every process available for this important legislation,” Mr Albanese said on Thursday,” he said.
“Reintroducing this Bill gives the Coalition and the Greens an opportunity to stop playing politics and support a $10bn housing fund that the Australian people clearly need and support.”
On Friday, Labor ministers tried to play down the likelihood of a double dissolution.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said it was “not about the election” and asked the Greens and Liberal MPs to “come to their senses”.
“(It’s about) following through on commitments that we made on the last election for which we received a mandate,” he said on Today.
“It is a policy that would make a difference. Thirty-thousand new social and affordable houses in the market would make a material difference to the supply and cost of housing.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong dismissed questions over whether the government was “angling” for an early election and said she wasn’t “speculating” on the likelihood of a double dissolution.
“The government’s angling for and focusing on more housing for Australians,” she said on ABC News Breakfast.
“My focus as senate leader will be on advocating to the Greens and to the community why we need this legislation.
“The Greens voting with Peter Dutton has to be one of the most unholy alliances we have seen for some time in politics.”