independents will be questioned unless they dump Labor, says Abbott

Posted on January 29, 2011


Integrity of independents will be questioned unless they dump Labor, says Abbott


January 29, 2011

TONY ABBOTT will pressure the Labor-supporting independents today to change sides, by saying they stand to be condemned alongside the government should 2011 be a year of failure to deliver.

In a speech to be delivered to the Young Liberals national conference on the Gold Coast, the Opposition Leader will say the independents who put Labor in power – Andrew Wilkie, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor – ”could start to reconsider their decision” at some stage this year.

”In a year’s time, if the mining tax is still unresolved or has been dropped, the carbon tax and the mechanism for imposing it is yet to be fixed, the boats are still coming and there is no East Timor detention centre, tax reform has been squibbed, the Murray-Darling Basin plan is in the too-hard basket, it won’t just be the Labor Party’s political integrity that will be questioned,” he will say.

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”But that of the independents who kept Labor in office.”

In speech late last year, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, promised to make 2011 a year of decision and delivery. She listed a series of policy goals she wants achieved, many of which Mr Abbott has listed. The Coalition opposes every one of them.

The opposition is hoping to be in power by the end of this year without an election by persuading the independents to quit Labor and change sides.

Mr Abbott set the scene for his push yesterday by telling ABC radio in Queensland ”the independents must be having a lot of soul searching at the moment”.

”I think the independents would be pretty worried about a Prime Minister who appears to have completely lost her judgment,” he said. ”Nearly all of the decisions that she’s made since she became Prime Minister, whether it be the East Timor detention centre, the real Julia, fake Julia announcement, the climate change people’s assembly, now this [flood] tax dressed up as a mateship charge, I mean nearly all her decisions have been bad ones.”

Just before Christmas, Mr Oakeshott told the Herald he and Mr Windsor planned to sit down at the end of this year and assess whether to keep backing the government. If they decided Labor was not up to scratch, they would change sides.

”If everyone delivers … what they have committed to, there’s no reason to change. But no one should get lazy in implementation and delivery,” he said.

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