* Australian Election 2010: Julia Gillard And Independents Meeting Expected

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Julia Gillard
Australian Election 2010: Julia Gillard And Independents Meeting Expected

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard is planning to provide regular public updates of the negotiations Labor has with crossbench MPs about a minority government.

Ms Gillard says she and her deputy Wayne Swan will be meeting with the three re-elected independents and a newly-elected Australian Greens MP likely to hold the balance of power in the House of Representatives.

“I do want to sensibly manage the expectations of Australians as this process takes place, it will take a period of time,” she said.

Negotiations would not be conducted “via the media”, but she and Mr Swan would publicly report on how the negotiations were proceeding.

“I’m not going to play any rule-in, rule-out games,” Ms Gillard said when asked if ministries and the job of house speaker would be discussed.

Negotiations would be entered in good faith.

Asked if there would be any secret deals, Ms Gillard said: “I do believe there has to be transparency about the outcome.”

The prime minister said she was happy to speak to newly-elected Nationals MP Tony Crook, who ousted veteran West Australian MP Wilson Tuckey from the seat of O’Connor.

Mr Crook is demanding Labor abandon its resource rent tax in return for his support.

But Ms Gillard said she would not back down on the tax, saying soon after becoming prime minister she brokered a deal to replace the proposed resources super profits tax with the minerals resources rent tax.

“Obviously I entered breakthrough negotiations with the Australian miners, Australia’s biggest miners, and I will be honouring that agreement.”

On climate change, Ms Gillard would not be drawn on whether she would bring forward plans for a carbon price, or press ahead with her much-criticised plan for a citizens assembly.

She noted the citizens assembly was “one part” of Labor’s climate policy, and said the party’s policies remained the same as before the election.

“I’m not going to play games of ruling things in and ruling things out,” Ms Gillard said when pressed on climate change.

She indicated Labor was best placed to form government because it had the best chance of getting legislation through both houses of parliament.

The Australian Greens will hold the balance of power in the Senate.

Who can best process legislation through the House of Representatives and the Senate?” Ms Gillard said.

Obviously the best processing of legislation is something that I will be discussing with the independents and the Greens during the course of the coming days.”


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