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Independents back Gillard to form next govt

world Updated: Sep 07, 2010 11:56 IST
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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's Labor party on Tuesday won the support of two king-maker independents and would be forming a minority government with their support.

Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, the two independent lawmakers, said that they will support the Labor party, ending weeks of political instability following a hung parliament, first since 1940.

"I intend with my vote, for what it's worth, to support the Labor Party," Windsor told reporters in Canberra.

Oakeshott said his decision depended on which party would be able to run a stable and long parliament.

Earlier, the other key independent MP Bob Katter had announced his support for opposition leader Tony Abbott.

Labor now controls 76 votes in Parliament's 150-member lower house, with the Coalition on 74.

The three MPs arrived at Parliament House in Canberra this morning for consideration of "final documents" from both Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

After delivering a long speech, Oakeshott finally confirmed his support for Labor.

"I did not try and make it all about... my wants and needs," he said, adding "This is for 20 years of vision."

"To miss the opportunity for millions of Australians, I thought was to good an opportunity to miss," Windsor said.

Oakeshott said his support for Gillard was not an endorsement of her and Labor and said both the electorate and the independents were "thoroughly unimpressed" with both major parties.

"I want to be very clear and up-front that this is not a mandate for any government," Oakeshott said.

"This parliament is going to be different. No one party has dominance over the executive or the parliament. This is a hard decision, there is no question about it," Oakeshott said, adding the decision on who to support was extremely close.

"This could not get any closer," he said. "My four and six year old are split on this."

Oakeshott said Gillard's first task was to bring Australia together.

He also vowed to "turbo-charge" regional Australia with a promised package for the bush.