Situation In Australian politics, where the simultaneous termination of both the House of Representatives and the Senate occurs, necessitating new elections for each House. This arises from a deadlock between the two houses of Parliament - where the upper house (Senate) refuses to pass bills from the lower house ( Representatives).

Section 57 of the Australian Constitution covers this situation. Rather than quote verbatim, this section can be summarised as follows:

  • House passes bill
  • Senate rejects bill
  • 3 months elapse
  • House passes bill again
  • Senate rejects bill again
  • Prime Minister may advise Governor-General to dissolve both houses
  • Assuming government is returned at election, House passes bill for the third time
  • Senate rejects bill for the third time
  • Joint Sitting may be held to finally resolve the disagreement between the houses

In the history of the Australian Parliament, there have been six double dissolutions in 1914, 1951, 1974 and 1975, 1983, and 1987. The most infamous of these was Gough Whitlam's ousting in 1975 after a double dissolution.

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