Wednesday, August 14, 2013

We must learn to win on our own: Bandt - The Age

Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt has called on voters to forget Labor and the Coalition branding them the ''Coles and Woolworths of politics'', after both ruled out any post-election deals to form government.

While Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has refused to match Tony Abbott's Wednesday morning pledge to put the Greens last on Coalition how-to-vote cards, he said Labor would not negotiate to form a majority as had occurred after the 2010 poll.

''Like Mr Abbott's, our ambition is to form majority government,'' he told reporters.

''I don't think I could be clearer by saying there will be no coalition arrangements with either the Greens or minor parties.


''Furthermore, no negotiated agreements as you've seen in the past, no deals as you've seen in the past, and the challenge for Mr Abbott and ourselves is to work with the Parliament which these, the Australian people, then elect.''

Those comments followed Mr Abbott's challenge to Mr Rudd to be ''man enough'' to put the Greens last on ALP how-to-vote cards if he was genuine about not governing short of a clear majority in his own right. Mr Abbott went as far as to flag another election if the result after September 7 is not decisive, or if Labor and Greens senators block his plans to scrap the carbon and mining taxes.

''If we are thwarted by a recalcitrant Parliament, well, there are options under the constitution that we won't hesitate to take,'' he said.

Mr Abbott said Labor's refusal to be as definitive as the Coalition showed he was prepared to ''sell the soul of the Labor Party'' to cling to power. ''I say to Mr Rudd, this is a test of your leadership; are you man enough to say to the Greens, 'I'm going to put you last'?''

Mr Bandt, who now faces a more difficult task holding Melbourne after riding Liberal preferences in 2010, said he could still win because Greens' support was building in the seat, citing a recent Galaxy poll that put his share of the vote as high as 48 per cent.

''We're aiming this time to win the seat in our own right and I think that's something the Greens have to do as we grow and become the next major party in this country,'' he said in Melbourne.

''It speaks volumes that Tony Abbott would rather have a Labor backbencher in the seat of Melbourne than me.''

The Greens' only lower house MP in the 43rd Parliament, Mr Bandt said both Labor and the Coalition wanted to turn the legislature into a ''two-party closed shop''. He said Mr Abbott's refusal to accept the legitimacy of the 2010 election result and Labor's ''massive internal turmoil'' were to blame for voter dissatisfaction.

Mr Abbott said he had made a ''captain's call'' to preference Labor because, unlike the Greens, it at least, supported economic growth. He said the Greens, however, were promoters of ''fringe'' economic ideas, referring to their policies to levy the big banks for their implied commonwealth guarantee, and their calls to increase the rate of the mining tax.

''There is a world of difference between the Greens and as far as I'm aware just about everyone else who is contesting this election … because everyone else in this campaign supports economic growth and supports a more prosperous economy,'' he said.

''The last three years has been a litany of betrayals, of broken promises, of disappointed hopes, of an economy which has under-performed.''

With Judith Ireland and Daniel Hurst
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