"TO JULIA GILLARD and TONY ABBOTT
Requests for information
1. We seek access to information under the ‘caretaker conventions’ to economic advice from the Secretary of the Treasury Ken Henry and Secretary of Finance David Tune, including the costings and impacts of Government and Opposition election promises and policies on the budget.
2. We seek briefings from the following Secretaries of Departments:
1. Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
2. Health and Ageing
3. Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
4. Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government
5. Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
6. Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water
8. Resources, Energy and Tourism
3. We seek briefings from caretaker Ministers and Shadow Ministers in the above portfolio areas to discuss their program for the next three years.
4. We seek advice as soon as possible on their plans to work with the Clerks of the Parliament to improve the status and authority of all 150 local MP’s within parliamentary procedures and structures. In particular, we seek advice on timelines and actions for increasing the authority of the Committee system, private members business and private members bills, matters of public importance, 90 second statements, adjournment debates, and question time.
5. We seek a commitment to explore all options from both sides in regard “consensus options” for the next three years, and a willingness to at least explore all options to reach a majority greater than 76 for the next three years. Included in these considerations is advice on how relationships between the House of Representatives and the Senate can be improved, and a proposed timetable for this to happen.
6. We seek a commitment in writing as soon as possible that if negotiations are to take place on how to form Government, that each of these leaders, their Coalition partners, and all their affiliated MP’s, will negotiate in good faith and with the national interest as the only interest. In this same letter of comfort, we seek a written commitment that whoever forms majority Government will commit to a full three year term, and for an explanation in writing in this same letter as to how this commitment to a full term will be fulfilled, either by enabling legislation or other means.
7. We seek advice as soon as possible on a timetable and reform plan for political donations, electoral funding, and truth in advertising reform, and a timetable for how this reform plan will be achieved in co-operation with the support of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The three non-aligned MP’s will now be heading home to families, electorate duties, and a long-standing appointment with the Governor-General (unrelated to this political deadlock). We have agreed to be back in Canberra on Monday for the full week of meetings in relation to the above.
We expect all the above information to be made available through best endeavours as soon as possible, so that formal negotiations with all stakeholders can begin by Friday 3rd September – if, based on final counts, negotiations are indeed needed at all."
Welcome to Tasmania, hope you enjoy the stay
Mr Abbott was repeatedly pressed by journalists about whether or not he would allow Treasury to brief the independents on the Coalition's policy costings. The Opposition leader repeated a number of times that he felt his shadows and the accounting firm which audited the costings are in a better position to brief the trio of independents. Mr Abbott was pressed on how this stance was consistent with the charter of budget honesty, introduced by the Coalition when in government and which requires both sides of politics to submit costings to Treasury for auditing towards the end of an election campaign. In reply, Mr Abbott said he simply believed his team and the Coalition's accounting firm were more intimate with the Coalition's plans than Treasury ever could be. This was the first of the independents' seven requests set out in their letters to Julia Gillard and Mr Abbott. Given that Labor has agreed to submit its costings in full to Treasury and the Coalition has not, already there is a difference in the approach, and a point of differentiation for Tony Windsor, Bob Katter and Rob Oakeshott to consider.
Former NSW premier Nathan Rees had the gall to say that ex-parliamentarians risked the dole queue if they weren't allowed to cash in on their time in politics (paraphrased).
5. change the required legislation to allow public sector workers - nurses, firemen, etc - to return to their job after their term in elected public life
Mr Windsor said providing stability for the country had been a key factor in his decision.
"If a government is formed, how long could it last and that is a key deliberation in our view," Mr Windsor said.
"I make this plea to country people, some of whom don't agree with the Labor party. This isn't about philosophy, philosophy in terms of both these parties died about a decade ago," Mr Windsor said.
"This is about using the political system to advance the people we represent and those people in regional Australia."
Mr Windsor also cited Labor's National Broadband Network as a "critical" reason for his backing.
‘‘There’s an enormous opportunity for regional Australians to engage with the infrastructure of this century and ... I thought (that) was too good an opportunity to miss,’’ he said.
"You do it once you do it right and you do it with fibre."
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