Aus kingmakers in final talks

2010-09-06 08:38

Canberra -Three kingmaker independent legislators had their final meetings with Australia's rival political leaders on Monday before they are to decide who to elect prime minister of the nation's first minority government in almost seven decades.

Two of the three - Tony Windsor and Robb Oakeshott - said the trio was likely to vote as a bloc, giving Prime Minister Julia Gillard's centre-left Labour Party a two-seat majority or conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott a single seat majority in the 150-seat House of Representatives where parties form government.

"The main game here has to be stability," Windsor told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio.

Both said they would consider changing their own vote to avoid a 75-seat tie and avoid another election.

Windsor and Oakeshott said the three, including independent Bob Katter, would likely announce their decisions on Tuesday after August 21 elections failed to give any party a majority. Australia last had a minority government in 1943.

Labour won 72 seats at the election, one fewer than Abbott's coalition.

But Gillard has already enlisted the support of another independent, Andrew Wilkie, and the sole lower chamber lawmaker from the Greens party.