Hot topics: australia, sport, government-and-politics, qld, nsw, law-crime-and-justice, united-states, community-and-society, rural, federal-elections

Labor day: Gillard retains grip on power

By online political correspondent Emma Rodgers

Updated September 7, 2010 22:53:00

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she will pump almost $10 billion into regional programs after today scraping back into power with the support of two key independents.

Ms Gillard has pledged to work tirelessly for the Australian people and says she will try and find common ground with the Coalition as Labor heads into its second term in government.

Two independents today broke the political deadlock by giving their votes to Ms Gillard in a Labor minority Government. She has advised Governor-General Quentin Bryce of the developments.

After more than a fortnight of suspense, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor revealed their intention to give Labor their crucial votes, meaning it has secured the 76 seats needed to rule.

The third independent, Bob Katter, had earlier decided to support the Coalition but it was not enough to install Tony Abbott as prime minister.

The two independents decided to back Ms Gillard after securing a $9.9 billion package of regional programs across several areas including infrastructure, health and education.

"Labor is prepared to deliver, stable, effective and secure government for the next three years," she said.

"Let our Parliament be more open than it ever was before.

"I know that if we fail in this solemn responsibility, we will be judged harshly when we next face the Australian people."

Ms Gillard also confirmed she offered Mr Oakeshott a ministry position but she says he has yet to make up his mind.

Mr Abbott says he is disappointed by the outcome, but has vowed to "ferociously" hold Labor to account.

"The Coalition won more votes and more seats than our opponents, but sadly we did not get the opportunity to form a government," he said.

Mr Abbott also confirmed he would stand for the leadership again when the party room meets on Thursday.

"I think it has been an amazing journey over the last nine months," he said.

"My challenge now is to ensure that I'm not the best Opposition Leader never to have become prime minister."

Deciding factors

Speaking earlier, Mr Oakeshott and Mr Windsor cited broadband, regional education and climate change as factors at play in their decision making.

Mr Windsor also said he felt the Coalition would be itching to head back to the polls if it formed government.

"There's been background noise and a little bit louder than background noise, that if there's a hung Parliament with the Coalition in government that they'd rush off to the polls as soon as they could," he said.

"And one of the things that we really want to do is try and get some longevity into this Parliament."

Mr Oakeshott said he felt Labor could offer more stability, but conceded he would cop flak from the Coalition for his decision.

"We are going to have a wow of a time and we are going to absolutely see anything and everything before this Parliament," he said.

Greens Leader Bob Brown says the independents have made the right decision and he looks forward to working with them.

"I think [the Parliament] is going to have a great deal of excitement about it," he said.

Today's result for Ms Gillard comes 17 days after the federal election resulted in the loss of a swag of Labor seats in Queensland and New South Wales, leaving both major parties short of a majority for the first time since World War II.

Tags: government-and-politics, elections, federal-elections, australia, qld

First posted September 7, 2010 17:08:00

State of the Parties

76 seats required for victory

93.0% counted.
Updated Thu Sep 9 09:57AM
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

ABC News Online Investigative Unit

The ABC News Online Investigative Unit encourages whistleblowers, and others with access to information they believe should be revealed for the public good, to contact us.

Election Live

76 needed to form government

93.0% counted.
Updated Thu Sep 9 09:57AM
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
  1. Tony Blair speaks on the 7.30 Report - video still Video Blair reflects

    Former British prime minister Tony Blair joins the 7.30 Report to discuss his recently published autobiography.

  2. Stephanie Rice cries Video Tearful apology

    Swimmer Stephanie Rice makes an emotional public apology over her homophobic slur on Twitter.

  3. Northumbria University researcher Kristofor McCarty Lords of the dance

    Scientists have revealed the secret to how a man can attract women on the dance floor.

  4. Stosur returns to Dementieva Note to self

    A time capsule at tennis star Sam Stosur's primary school reveals an 11-year-old Stosur's dreams for 2010.