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Bracing for backwash on basin plan

CLIMATE change will underpin the day's politics as the government braces for a long fight over efforts to return water to the Murray-Darling Basin.

Bandt slept with the enemy in campaign

THROUGHOUT his campaign to unseat Labor from its prized electorate of Melbourne, Adam Bandt was sleeping with the enemy.

From late last year to last month's polling day, Bandt's partner, Claudia Perkins, was employed as a Labor staffer. The day on which Bandt became the lone Green in the lower house, Ms Perkins resigned her post.

The personal and professional pairing would appear to confirm what many critics of yesterday's deal announced between the ALP and Greens already believe -- that the new Greens are merely an offshoot of old Labor. Both Labor and Greens sources dismissed the suggestion that Ms Perkins's role would have influenced Mr Bandt's decision to support a minority Labor government. Ms Perkins was employed as a policy adviser to Julia Gillard and later Simon Crean. Once the federal election was called, she worked on the Gillard campaign.

Mr Bandt yesterday declined to comment on the matter other than to confirm that Ms Perkins was

no longer working for the government.

"To avoid any perceived conflict of interest, Claudia chose to resign," he said. "Claudia's career choices are her own, and I respect her decision."

Mr Bandt made no secret before the federal election of his plans to do his bit for Ms Gillard in the event of a hung parliament.

There was also a mutual admiration between Mr Bandt and Lindsay Tanner, who held Melbourne for 17 years against a rising Greens tide until retiring this year.

On the night he was elected, Mr Bandt gave Ms Perkins an on-stage kiss and paid tribute to Mr Tanner.

In the days before the axing of Kevin Rudd, Mr Tanner told The Australian that Mr Bandt, with his background as an industrial lawyer and passion for progressive politics, would have been an ALP member had he been born 15 years earlier.

"He illustrates the difficulty Labor has had, losing people who once would have been active members of our party," Mr Tanner said.

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