Abbott in 'captain's call' to put Labor ahead of Greens
THE Liberal Party will preference Labor ahead of the Greens across the country on September 7, with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott labelling Australia's flirtation with minority government a failure.
Mr Abbott used a "captain's call" in deciding to preference the Greens last, a decision which could cost the minority party its only lower house seat.
Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt won the seat of Melbourne from Labor in 2010 with the help of Liberal preferences after he secured just 36% of the primary vote. Prominent ALP frontbencher Lindsay Tanner, who retired before the election, had held the seat for 17 years.
Mr Bandt's vote was vital in Labor forming government after the election.
"The Australian people have come to a very firm conclusion that minority government is an experiment that failed and the last thing that they want ... is another hung parliament and another minority government," Mr Abbott said.
"It's because we've seen three years of bad government ... that I have today instructed the Liberal Party organisation right around Australia that we should put the Greens last."
Mr Abbott called on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to do the same and again ruled out the possibility of forming government with the help of minor parties or independents in the event of a hung parliament.
Campaigning in Cairns, Mr Rudd said he would not strike any deals to gain power, adding Labor being returned as a majority government would be "the best thing for the nation".
"We will not be entering into any coalition agreements, we won't be having any negotiated agreements, we won't have any deals with any independent or any minor party. Our objective is to be a majority government in our own right," Mr Rudd said.
While he would not be drawn on any pre-election preference negotiations, Mr Rudd said there would be "no deals on the quiet".
Greens Leader Christine Milne said Mr Bandt had played a pivotal role in securing important reforms across a number of policy areas.
"It's no wonder Tony Abbott feels threatened by one Green. Imagine what you could do if we had 10 Greens in the House of Reps," Senator Milne said.
"I say it's the best message yet to the whole country that if you want effective members of parliament driving progressive change then vote Green."