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Gillard Wins Support of Australian Greens With Climate Committee - BusinessWeek

September 01, 2010, 2:39 AM EDT
By Gemma Daley and Robert Fenner
Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard won the support of the Greens Party should she form the next government in exchange for setting up a climate-change committee that would set a penalty for carbon emissions.
The Greens also agreed to work with Gillard’s Labor Party to ensure passage of the national budget, leader Bob Brown told reporters in Canberra today. His party is seeking a parliamentary debate on Australian troop deployments in Afghanistan and restrictions on political donations.
“This is a new way of working,” Gillard told reporters in Canberra. “The fact that we were able to reach that agreement shows we have worked in good faith and held good discussions.”
The deal adds an extra seat in the lower house of parliament for Gillard as she negotiates to form a government following a deadlocked national election on Aug. 21. Labor itself has so far won 71 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives, five short of a majority
“We have signed an agreement for the continuation of the Gillard government,” Brown said. “This agreement is a replacement of both the Labor and Greens commitments to dealing with climate change.”
The accord shortened the odds on Labor retaining power although the opposition coalition led by Tony Abbott remains the favorite to form a government, according to bookmaker Sportsbet.com.au. The odds on Gillard fell to A$2.50 for each dollar wagered compared with A$3.20 before the deal. An Abbott victory is paying A$1.50, it said in an e-mailed statement.
‘Driver’s Seat’
“The Greens will be in the driver’s seat of any Gillard government,” Abbott told reporters in Canberra.
The proposed climate commission would be made up of lawmakers and scientists to advise on the best way to charge polluters for emissions. Gillard drew criticism in July when she delayed climate-change action in the world’s driest inhabited continent until after 2012.
“We have set up a process that will set up a carbon price and tackle climate change,” Brown said. “It will be inclusive and there will be other parties involved.”
With 82 percent of the vote counted, Abbott’s Liberal- National coalition holds 73 seats in the lower house to Labor’s 71 with one division still undecided, according to the Australian Electoral Commission website.
Independent lawmakers Robert Oakeshott, Tony Windsor, Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie are in Canberra for talks with the main parties as they try to decide who to back. They are scheduled to meet Treasury Secretary Ken Henry today.
Gillard asked the independent lawmakers to release a Treasury analysis of Labor’s policies.
“We want to be transparent, we believe those costings should be released publicly,” she said.
--Editors: Iain Wilson, Bill Austin

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