Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has reaffirmed his commitment to a late election, resisting calls to go early and capitalise on his popularity in a wide-ranging interview on 3AW.
Turnbull dropped into the Melbourne radio station's offices on Friday, also telling host Neil Mitchell the government is considering changes to the GST, that he doesn't support changing the date of Australia Day, and confirming that if a plebiscite on same-sex marriage is held that the Liberal Party would "absolutely" respect its result.
The PM first said he plans to hold an election in "August, September, October." Then, when Mitchell bluntly tried to surprise him into another answer by suddenly asking "early election?" Turnbull replied that he anticipates a national poll "at the normal time in the third quarter of this year".
- Listen to the full 3AW interview here.
The PM also did little to shoot down speculation -- fuelled by a relentless campaign by Labor leader Bill Shorten -- that an increase in the GST to 15 percent was on the cards.
Neil: "Is increasing the GST still a possibility."
PM Turnbull: "Certainly."January 28, 2016
Turnbull says changes to the GST are being 'actively considered by the government' #auspol— Stephanie Anderson (@stephanieando) January 28, 2016
Turnbull's first federal budget as prime minister is due in May and with an election potentially just three months afterwards, it could be expected the budget would be full of nice big spending promises to woo the electorate. Malcolm, however, says no.
"This is not going to be a fistful of dollars election campaign, from us, anyway; maybe the Labor Party will, as they ramp up their recklessnesss, seek to do that. But I think the Australian people recognise we’re in a tight fiscal, financial environment," he said.
"It will certainly be a tight budget."
On the issue of a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, which was thrown into chaos this week as senator Eric Abetz claimed the result of the national vote would not sway his vote in parliament, Turnbull said he would "absolutely" follow the will of the Australian people.
"There will be a plebiscite, that's our policy. If the majority of people voting in the plebiscite vote in favour of it, same-sex marriage will be legalised," he said.
Parliament resumes for the year next week.