Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Two of three rural Australian "kingmakers" cast lot with Labor Party

Julia Gillard's Labor Party will be able to form a new government in Australia, as two independent lawmakers have said they will support her, giving her a coalition of 76 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives. Read Meraiah Foley's report in the New York Times here. An excerpt from the story follows:

In a dramatic piece of political theater earlier in the day, lawmakers Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor told a room packed with reporters that they would support Ms. Gillard’s government ... .

The announcements by Mr. Windsor and Mr. Oakeshott came after a third independent legislator, Bob Katter, earlier in the day threw his support behind the opposition conservative leader, Tony Abbott.

“This is not a mandate for either party,” Mr. Oakeshott said, saying Ms. Gillard’s center-left coalition will need to work with independent legislators from rural Australia to win passage on proposals.

To achieve this coalition, Gillard promised that the next round of spending on education, health and infrastructure would include $9 billion for rural parts of Australia, and she offered Oakeshott a cabinet seat to "drive spending to rural areas."

Read additional coverage of related events here.

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