Aussie opposition rules out power-sharing
By Rob Taylor, ReutersCANBERRA--Australia's opposition, tipped to sweep looming elections, on Wednesday ruled out power-sharing with minor parties and independents in a promise aimed at closing off three years of minority rule that have shaken voters and business confidence.
August 15, 2013, 12:07 am TWN
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, whose conservatives lead Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's ruling Labor in surveys ahead of the Sept. 7 ballot, said he would not do deals with influential Greens and crossbench independents as the price of taking power.
“This action will protect the economy and jobs. Minority government is an experiment that has comprehensively failed,” Abbott said.
Australia's 2010 election delivered the first minority government since World War Two, with center-left Labor's then leader Julia Gillard becoming prime minister with the support of Green and independent MPs after weeks of deal making.
But critics of Gillard's government, including big business and miners, accused the country's first female leader of being unduly influenced by her Green alliance, introducing carbon and mining profits taxes into a slowing US$1.5 trillion economy.
PM Offers Similar Pledge
Abbott's pledge to rule out deals in the event of a another political deadlock in a country unused to hung parliaments drew a similar pledge from Rudd, who ousted Gillard in June amid plummeting poll support for Labor.
“We will not be entering into any coalition agreements, we won't be having any negotiated agreements,” Rudd said. “Our objective is to be a government, a majority government, in our own right.”
Abbott said he had ordered his conservative party leadership to place the Greens behind Labor on ballot sheets, which under Australia's complicated system of preferential voting meant Labor could win some finely balanced seats.
Voting is compulsory for Australians, and the voting system favors the majority center-left and center-right blocs by re-allocating votes from failed candidates to more successful candidates.