Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Paris Men's Fall/Winter 2015, freedom of speech triumphs

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Davos 2015: Businesses 'cautiously optimistic' in Japan

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Twitter storm as IMF boss Christine Lagarde hails Saudi King Abdullah as 'strong advocate of women'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

DR CONGO: Senate amends controversial constitutional law

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Pope Family Planning: Heated Debate over Pontiff's 'Rabbit' Comments (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Saudi King Abdullah Dies: Succession, Stability and Youth in Question (part 1)

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

France tackles terror

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

Jean-Pascal Tricoire, CEO of Schneider Electric: 'France is on a better track'

Read more

DEBATE

Davos debate: Can big business agree on climate deal? (part 2)

Read more

Asia-pacific

Independents back Labor's Gillard to form government

Video by Siobhán SILKE

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2010-09-07

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced her intention to lead a stable minority government after winning the crucial support of two independent lawmakers.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Tuesday she was prepared to lead Australia after reaching an agreement with two independent MPs. Gillard’s Labor Party will enjoy a majority of just one seat in the new parliament.

"We are governing with a majority of 76. We are prepared to go forward to serve the Australian people," Gillard told reporters in Canberra. Her announcement capped more than two weeks of intense negotiations after an inconclusive Aug. 21 general election resulted in Australia’s first hung parliament in 70 years.

Independent lawmaker Rob Oakeshott and fellow "kingmaker" Tony Windsor both sided with Gillard on Tuesday rather than with Liberal/National coalition leader Tony Abbott.

France 24's Fanou Filali reports from Sidney, Australia, on Prime Minister Julia Gillard winning power to form a new government

Bob Katter, a cowboy-hat-wearing rural independent from Queensland, earlier threw his support behind Abbott, giving him 74 seats and breaking the declared alliance between the three country independents who had vowed to stand shoulder to shoulder.

"Labor is prepared to govern," Gillard said. "I believe the Australian people, given the closeness of this vote, want us to find more common ground in the national interest."

FRANCE 24 correspondent Fanou Filali said finding more common ground would require a sea change in Australia’s parliament. “One thing the independents did was secure a commitment form both major parties to parliamentary reform,” she said.

The reform, Filali reported, would include appointing an independent MP as the speaker of the house, shorter questions during question time, shorter answers, and in general, a more consultative government.

“These changes will give ordinary MPs more of a voice, and will strip away some of the control from the executive,” our correspondent added.

Independent streak

"I will... give confidence and supply to government, and in effect that means confidence and supply in Julia Gillard unless, and I emphasise unless, exceptional circumstances determine otherwise," said Oakeshott, the last of the three independents to declare his support for Labor’s minority government.

Oakeshott and Windsor said their desire for a stable government, one that would last as long as possible, was the main reason they had thrown their support behind the incumbent prime minister. But Labor offered enticing rewards and political concessions to secure the independents’ loyalty.

Gillard, who seized power in a party coup just 10 weeks ago before calling a snap election, announced an extra 9.9 billion dollars (7 billion euros) in funding for rural healthcare, in a bid to win over the independents.

Another key factor that swung in Gillard’s favour was Labor’s pledge to roll out a 31-billion-euro national broadband network for rural Australia.

Gillard said she expected to seek the endorsement of the governor general, the representative of British Queen Elizabeth II, to form a government later on Tuesday.

She added that she would swear in a cabinet next week and confirmed she had offered a position to former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who won 2007 elections by a landslide but was axed by Labor’s coup in June.

 

Date created : 2010-09-07

  • AUSTRALIA

    Key 'kingmaker' supports opposition in race to form government

    Read more

  • AUSTRALIA

    Leaders woo independents as hung parliament looms

    Read more

  • AUSTRALIA

    Australian election goes down to the wire

    Read more

COMMENT(S)