Independent MPs back Labor, form minority government

Two of three independent MPs side with Gillard in fight for broadband

Independent MPs, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, have backed Gillard’s Labor Government after weeks of uncertainty for the Australian people, a result that will see the National Broadband Network (NBN) go ahead.

Following announcements by Oakeshott, Windsor - and despite surprising support for the Coalition from Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, – the Labor party have 76 seats in the House of Representatives, granting them the right to form a minority government.

For both MPs, the most critical issue behind the decision was broadband.

“There’s an enormous opportunity for regional Australians to engage with the infrastructure of this century, and to pass up that opportunity and miss that opportunity for millions of country Australians I thought was too good an opportunity to miss,” Windsor said.

According to Windsor, his many advisors in relation to broadband technology suggested that fibre is the one and only way to do it.

“That has been one of the major influences that I’ve had in terms of making a decision,” he said.

In making his "juicy and sexy decision", Oakeshott said this parliament would be different wither no one party having dominance over the executive or the parliament and described it as "a good reality".

He denied that his support was an endorsement of any philosophy or campaign and said he, Windsor and Katter were thoroughly unimpressed with the state of major party politics in Australia today.

Windsor highlighted the importance of broadband for rural Australians and said both major parties had neglected these areas in the past.

“The admission by both parties through the various documents they’ve put together the admission is that they’ve neglected country Australians and that they are attempting through this process because of the way the numbers are crunched to try and rectify that particular situation.”

In a plea to conservative Australians in his electorate who would not support his Labor decision, Windsor said the decision was less about philosophy and more about “using the political system to advantage” the people he represents, and also regional Australians.

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Tags Federal Election 2010National Broadband Network (NBN)Independents Decidebroadband

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