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Crook declares support for Abbott

Updated September 6, 2010 22:00:00

West Australian Nationals MP Tony Crook says he will side with the Coalition, in response to demands that he publicly declare who he will back to form government.

Today the major parties and independent MPs Bob Katter, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor agreed to a raft of parliamentary rule changes, moving them closer to making a decision on who they will support in the hung Parliament.

The independents are expected to announce today which party they will back, but Mr Oakeshott said before he could make that decision he needed Mr Crook to clearly state who he was supporting.

"We just need to see some direction from Mr Crook as to exactly what his position is on this question of confidence and supply so we can make a genuine decision," Mr Oakeshott said.

In a statement, Mr Crook said he would support the Coalition and that because of the mining tax he would oppose a Labor-Green government.

But he said he would sit on the cross benches.

Last week Labor secured the vote of Melbourne Greens MP Adam Bandt and Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie, bringing the party to within two seats of the 76 needed for it to retain power.

Under the reform deal, Federal Parliament will have an independent speaker and Question Time will be overhauled, with questions limited to 45 seconds and answers capped at four minutes. The replies must also be relevant.

Mr Oakeshott said the changes would give ordinary MPs more power and strip away some of the control from the executive.

"The Australian political system up until now has been overly dominated by the executive, and the Parliament has played a secondary role to the executive, the ministers," he said.

"In the last parliament we didn't even talk about the gang of four. That's going to change in this parliament, and I think that is a positive change for parliamentary democracy in Australia."

Tags: government-and-politics, elections, federal-government, federal-elections, australia, nsw, qld, tas, vic, wa

First posted September 6, 2010 20:27:00

State of the Parties

76 seats required for victory

92.8% counted.
Updated Wed Sep 8 12:54AM
Party % Vote Swing Won Predict
Labor 38.0 -5.4 72
Coalition 43.7 +1.5 73
Greens 11.7 +4.0 1
Others 6.6 -0.1 4

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Election Live

76 needed to form government

92.8% counted.
Updated Wed Sep 8 12:54AM
Party % Vote Swing Won Predict
Labor 38.0 -5.4 72
Coalition 43.7 +1.5 73
Greens 11.7 +4.0 1
Others 6.6 -0.1 4
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