Sun, August 22, 2010
World > Asia-Pacific > 2010 Australian election

Australian PM begins negotiations with independents to form gov't

2010-08-22 08:48:38 GMT2010-08-22 16:48:38 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Combination picture shows Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard (L) and federal opposition leader Tony Abbott as they cast their votes in Australia August 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Mick Tsikas and Rick Stevens)

MELBOURNE, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Sunday seized the initiative to try to form government, beginning preliminary negotiations with the Australian Greens and independent Member of Parliaments.

"It's my intention to negotiate in good faith an effective agreement to form government," Gillard told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.

Australia is facing the prospect of a hung parliament, the first since 1940, after neither Labor nor the coalition had the 76 seats to form government in their own right.

A final result for Saturday's election is unlikely to be known for days.

The Prime Minister said that it was now clear that the Labor Party had won the popular vote and this should be weighed carefully by independents who would now help decide which party governed.

Voters had clearly sent a message calling for a change in the way politics in Australia was conducted, she said, adding that pledging to consider reforms to Parliament, including how question time was conducted.

"That is the conclusion. The Australian people are talking about changing politics,"Gillard said.

According to Australian Associated Press, Gillard has already spoken by telephone to re-elected independents, Tong Windsor, Rob Oakshott and Bob Katter, as well as a possible fourth independent, Andrew Wilkie in Tasmania.

She has also met Greens' member of parliament, Adam Bandt, who has won snatched the seat of Melbourne from Labor, as well as the Greens party leader Bob Brown in Melbourne.

Gillard pointed out that no party will be able to pass legislation in the Senate, without the support of the Greens and the other major party.

So far, the Australian Electorate Commission has counted 78 percent of the election votes, with Labor and Liberal/National Party both win 70 seats.

On a two party preferred vote, which has counted 74.76 percent votes, Labor has been leading 50.68 percent against the 49.32 percent of Liberal/National Party.

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