Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

What Wooed Labor's Swingers

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

What Wooed Labor's Swingers

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul osbourne of aap

THEY might not be able to vote, but bush kids have changed the face of Australian politics.

Watching independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott reveal their hands in Parliament House were the next generation of voters from Mr Windsor's country NSW seat.

"This probably will be a fairly historic day," Mr Windsor told the school kids, with typical bush understatement.

What finally swayed the independents Co after 17 days of complex negotiations Co to deliver Prime Minister Julia Gillard the two votes she needed to form government was who they felt was best for future generations in regional Australia.

Labor's answer was to repackage a program of current and future health, education and broadband commitments and label it $10 billion of benefits for the bush.

The two independents liked what they saw, especially a promise to ensure broadband prices are kept low in regional areas.

Mr Oakeshott Co whose wife is expecting their fourth child soon Co described the package as passing the "eyes of my children test", adding that he did not want a government for just three years, he wanted to achieve something that would last two decades.

Mr Windsor talked up Labor's commitment to a climate change committee operating at cabinet level, which he said could lead to renewable energy industry jobs in the bush.

He said action on climate change should not be something to be feared by families living in regional areas, or the subject of partisan battles Co as happened in the last parliament and claimed the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull.

While Ms Gillard has managed to form the first minority Federal Government since World War II, the independents warned Labor that it was on parole.

The third independent, Queenslander Bob Katter, decided to back the Coalition based on its commitment to much of his 20-point plan. …

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