Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday secured the support of the country’s only Greens parliamentarian after agreeing to create a “climate change committee” of MPs as hectic negotiations to form a government inched forward.
Greens leader Senator Bob Brown said the party’s only MP Adam Bandt would back Gillard’s Labour party in parliament after the Prime Minister offered to set up a climate change committee, invest in dental care and study a high-speed east-coast rail link.
“We have made a decision here...We are the first people in this balance of power in both houses to make a decision,” Brown told reporters.
The deal with the Greens means Labour party is now three seats short of the 76-seat majority it needs to form government. The coalition currently has 73 seats.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation said the agreement signed between Greens and Labours also included the dumping of the highly unpopular ‘Citizens Assembly’
“If Gillard continued her term as prime minister she would also meet with Brown and Bandt once a week” when Parliament is in session.
Australians voted in the country’s first hung parliament in 70 years at the August 21 polls -- delivering Tony Abbott’s Liberal/National coalition 73 seats and Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s centre-left Labour 72, but giving neither the 76 seats needed to rule.
Brown said the Greens, who also hold the balance of power in the Senate, are committed to stable, open and good governance.
“We take that responsibility with a great deal of gratitude to the people of Australia,” he said.
“We will be discussing, if Julia Gillard is the next Prime Minister, a wide range of other issues in the months and years to come.
“Here is a very good example of us saying, ‘we accept what the people of Australia say and we’re moving to get them a good outcome from [a minority government]”, he said.
Brown defended the formation of climate change committee in the absence of a price on carbon and said all sides of politics as well as various experts would be invited to join it.
The three incumbent cross-bench MPs and newly elected independent MP Andrew Wilkie are yet to make up their minds on who to support as negotiations continue this week.
Brown said he informed Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of the deal last night.