Australia Cobbles Together New Government


It took more than two weeks of horse trading to win the votes of independent members of parliament, but Australia now has a government with the narrowest of majorities. And that is an accurate reflection of the election last month that basically produced a tie.

Julia Gillard; AFP/GettyLabor Prime Minister Julia Gillard gets to keep her job, even though her party lost its majority in the House of Representatives in the Aug. 21 election. With promises of largesse to rural regions, she managed to woo three independents and a member of the Green Party to give her coalition. It will have 76 seats in the lower House, a one vote edge.

How long her government will remain in office will be the tantalizing question for months to come in Canberra, but the Associated Press quoted Gillard this morning saying:

“Labor is prepared to govern. Labor is prepared to deliver stable, effective and secure government for the next three years.”

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, part of Gillard’s bargaining included a promise to give a government job to the prime minister she ousted earlier this year, Kevin Rudd. But she did not commit to making the Chinese-speaking Rudd, who is popular in Washington, her foreign minister.