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Independent Andrew Wilkie to support Labor forming Australian minority gov't

09-02-2010 14:47 BJT

CANBERRA, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Andrew Wilkie on Thursday said he has decided to back a Australian Labor minority government.

The MP for Denison in Tasmania, who holds balance of power in Parliament with the other three independents, made the announcement in Canberra on Thursday.

Wilkie said his support only extended to supply and votes of no confidence, and would consider all policies on merit.

"A future Labor government will have my vote on matters of supply, furthermore I will not support any unwarranted no confidence motion brought to bear against a future Labor government," Wilkie told a media conference in Canberra.

"I will approach every policy on its merits."

Wilkie said he had judged that Labor best met his criteria for the next government which must be stable, competent and ethical.

"There are many areas of the Australian Labor Party's policy platform that I have concerns about ... for instance their refugee policy," he said.

"But I will take every opportunity during the term of the government to champion the issues I care about and concerned about, and try and bring about reform that way."

One of Wilkie's priorities in negotiations was poker machine reform, in particular the introduction of uniform "pre-commitment" smart card technology.

Wilkie has also expressed concerns about the public health care system in southern Tasmania, and the state of the Royal Hobart Hospital in particular, which he said will be fighting to bring reform during his days in Parliament.

Wilkie's decision means Labor now has 74 definite seats, two short of the majority needed to secure power to form government, while the Coalition is at 73 seats.

Earlier on Wednesday, Greens' MP Adam Bandt also signed an agreement with Labor to support the party forming minority government.

Meanwhile, the other three independent MPs are locked in meetings on Thursday with the Labor and Coalition costing figures, as they work out which party to back in a minority government.

The trio have also had lunch with mining magnate Andrew Forrest, who is strenuously opposed to Labor's mining tax.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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