Labor-Greens alliance is putting Julia Gillard on a collision course with the key regional independents. The independents vehemently oppose key Greens policies, including an increase to the mining tax and a carbon price. After talks yesterday with Greens leader Bob Brown and new Greens MP Adam Bandt, the Prime Minister left open the possibility of an alliance with the party and a Greens MP being a cabinet minister under a Labor government -- a move Senator Brown flagged before the talks. The speculation on a Greens alliance came as Ms Gillard reassured the nation she could form a stable government with the Greens and independents in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, citing her negotiation over Labor's Fair Work Act through the Senate with the Greens, independent Nick Xenophon and Family First's Steve Fielding.
Life was beautiful. There was a wobbly toddler and a baby on the way. The kids were to grow up as little buddies, just 17 months apart. Richard Burnet, their proud dad, had landed a dream job. A Bombers fan since childhood, he was the new chief commercial officer for the Essendon Football Club. In no time his little boy and unborn son would be old enough to huddle in scarves and jackets with him and his wife, Danielle, watching the footy at the MCG. They'd eat hot pies with sauce. See the Bombers fly up. The kids would grow up nicely in this family cocoon.
The turmoil in the Country Liberal Party reached a new peak yesterday with Opposition Leader Terry Mills surviving a challenge from David Tollner. Mr Tollner caused a spill in the leadership yesterday morning but only won the support of one other MLA. That MLA is understood to be Adam Giles. Mr Mills won with eight votes to two. Retiring Member for Araluen Jodeen Carney abstained from the vote because she is leaving.
Voters in the seats of the three incumbent independent MP overwhelmingly want them to support the Coalition. In the seats of Kennedy in far north Queensland and New England and Lyne in northeast NSW, 54 per cent of voters want the independents to support the Coalition, while 34 per cent want them to back Labor. The strongest support for favouring a Coalition government is in Bob Katter's seat of Kennedy, at 56 per cent. The lowest support for the Coalition is in Rob Oakeshott's seat of Lyne on the NSW north coast, at 52 per cent to 38 per cent for Labor, according to the latest Newspoll survey. The Newspoll survey of 1396 voters, more than 400 in each seat, taken exclusively for The Weekend Australian on Wednesday and Thursday, also shows Tony Windsor's seat of New England favouring a Coalition government over a Labor government by 55 per cent to 35 per cent.
The new MP once thought of his party as a route to achieving socialism. Greens MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt has defended comments he made on a Marxist student website 15 years ago, in which he denounced capitalism and labelled the Greens a "bourgeois" political party that could be used to push a socialist agenda. The comments, made in a two-page memo written by Mr Bandt on March 4, 1995, while he was a student activist at Murdoch University, first surfaced on Victorian political blogger Andrew Landeryou's website VexNews. As Mr Bandt and Greens leader Bob Brown continued discussions yesterday with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan about the formation of the next federal government, the memo raised questions about Mr Bandt's student politics and his views of the Labor Party, which he referred to in the 1995 memo as "almost as right-wing as the US Democrats".
A United Nations official says he is ''very impressed'' by the medically supervised injecting centre in Kings Cross, which has been operating on a trial basis for almost a decade. The executive director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibe, said it was a ''pragmatic, cost-effective'' way to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and prevent deaths of intravenous drug users, who were often homeless or mentally ill. Mr Sidibe would not be drawn on the state government's decision not to grant the centre a permanent licence, which forces Parliament to vote on an extension of the relevant legislation every four years. ''The decision is local. It should be taken by politicians after reviewing the centre but from an evidence point of view, what I saw is not harmful, [in fact] it's the opposite,'' he said.
Children who spend roughly equal time with both parents after a divorce or separation are doing well, though no better or worse than children who spend most time with their mothers, a study shows. Providing parents hold no fears for their children's safety or for their own, most are happy with shared care, and make it work. Many mothers like the break and many children think the arrangement is ''fair.'' The study, commissioned by the federal Attorney-General's Department, is based on the responses of 1028 parents and 136 children, and other data. Conducted by a team under the leadership of the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of NSW with academics from the University of Sydney and the Australian Institute of Family Studies, it is part of a government-funded investigation into the impact of reforms to the Family Law Act made in 2006.
Key independent Andrew Wilkie has put a $1 limit on poker machine bets at the top of a wish list for his meeting with Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Melbourne today. Mr Wilkie said the $1 bet, and a limit to losses of $120 an hour, were achievable measures to deal with the ''scourge'' of poker machines. He also will put them to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott when they meet in Canberra on Monday, as Mr Wilkie weighs up whether to support either major party, or sit unaligned.
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