Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says Labor won’t enter into any agreements to form minority government if the election is tied.


Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has long ruled out any deals in the event of a hung parliament, and Mr Rudd has now followed suit.

“My ambition … is that we are returned as a majority government,” Mr Rudd told reporters in Cairns on Wednesday.

“That is 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 independents or any minor party.”

The move could mean the Greens’ Adam Bandt – elected in 2010 on the back of Liberal Party preferences – faces an even tougher challenge to retain his seat of Melbourne at the election.

Mr Abbott said he didn’t regret preferencing the Greens before Labor at the 2010 election.

“That was then, this is now,” he said.

The last three years had been a “litany of betrayals, of broken promises, of disappointed hopes”, and the Australian people couldn’t afford any repeat of that.

That’s why he’d decided to make this “captain’s call”, and Mr Rudd should be “man enough” to do the same.

“This election is about producing a strong government, a majority government, with a clear majority in the parliament,” he said.

Mr Abbott said it was a different question when it came to doing deals with other minor parties.

There is a “world of difference” between the Greens and virtually every other political party contesting the federal election, he said.

The Greens were against economic growth and were pushing for a bank levy, higher mining and carbon taxes, open borders and 100 per cent renewable energy target, he said.

“These are quite frankly fringe economic policies, to put it at its kindest, and no one has that kind of economic policy,” he said.

Both major parties needed to send a strong signal that they won’t jeopardise Australia’s prosperity by giving the Greens a chance to run the next government.

Mr Abbott was asked whether he would do deals with the Greens on passing legislation in the Senate.

“We are going to get our program through the parliament,” Mr Abbott said.

“If we are thwarted by a recalcitrant parliament, well there are options under the constitution that we won’t hesitate to take,” he said, hinting at a possible double dissolution election.

He said his decision was about principle and “standing up for the things you believe in”.

Greens leader Christine Milne says it’s “absolutely realistic” the party can retain Melbourne.

“This is actually what we thought would happen. It’s the basis on which Adam Bandt’s campaign has been running,” she told ABC radio.

“It’s just really the signal we need to go even harder to get this seat for Adam because I think he’s been a great member for Melbourne and been a wonderful deputy leader for the Greens.”

Senator Milne says Greens need to be re-elected to fight against university cuts, which she says both major parties are supporting.

“We need Adam there as a strong voice for research development for universities and against those cuts, and also on asylum seekers,” she said.

“If the Greens aren’t there, who is going to stand up and talk about caring for people and compassion and decency when both of the old parties just want to engage in a race to the bottom?”

Adam Bandt says that he remains confident of winning his seat in Melbourne.

“Of course, in the Victorian state election the Liberals decided to work with Labor and help Labor members get elected at the state level here, so we’ve presumed we can’t rely on anyone supporting us,” he told the ABC.

“As much as the two old parties say they hate each other perhaps they want to see us out of the parliament even more.”

Maverick MP Bob Katter says he welcomes Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s decision to preference the Australian Greens last.

“The environmentalists movement in Australia had turned into a cancer and had to be cut out,” he told reporters at the Royal Queensland Show in Brisbane on Wednesday.

Mr Katter said he’s not leaning towards any party when it comes to preference swaps.

He said there’s a lot of “wheeling and dealing” to be done before any preferences are decided.

Katter’s Australian Party preferences could be decisive in northern and central Queensland where the party secured large swings in last year’s state election.

Mr Katter said he wants support for transmission lines to new mining fields in Queensland.

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