MPs back in opposition

THE FRASER Coast yesterday missed out on getting a deputy prime minister and millions of dollars for the region as two independent MPs created a “rainbow government that is something of a recipe for instability”.

Nationals leader and Wide Bay MP Warren Truss emerged from meeting with Tony Abbott in Canberra after learning that a Gillard government had been handed the mandate to claim power – and phoned the Chronicle.

“I'm incredibly disappointed. We won more votes and more seats than Labor that will be forming the next government, a rainbow coalition of extreme Greens and independents.

“This is something of a recipe for instability.

“But I am even more concerned for the lost opportunities for regional Australia that could have had a significant boost in support for services from our election platform that we'll now not have the opportunity to implement.”

Mr Truss said there would be “some difficulties in managing a parliament of this new make-up. They'll go in hoping they can operate effectively. Our job is to continue to draw attention to the failings of Labor in the event this government does not work out and that we are called to take office.”

Mr Truss said he imagined that independent MP Bob Katter, who pledged his support for the Coalition earlier in the afternoon, would now be free to become independent again.

“Everyone in the parliament will have some degree of control because the margin will be so tight.”

Half an hour after Tony Windsor and Rob Oakshott announced their new allegiance to Labor, Hinkler MP Paul Neville, who was voted in without fanfare as the party's Chief Whip last week at a meeting of the Nationals in Canberra, was in his office and returning the Chronicle's call.

“We now have a more left-leaning Gillard government than the Rudd government before her and even more left-leaning than the short-term first Gillard government.

“I wasn't surprised at this outcome of 76-74 but nevertheless disappointed.

“I think in all the lofty phraseology and justifications that have been going on today, the simple fact is that Tony Abbott won a majority of the seats, a majority of primary votes and majority of preference votes. It makes me all the more determined to hold these people accountable for what they've said.”

Mr Neville said the independents had said yesterday that regional Australia would be given new considerations, especially in the fields of infrastructure, communications and education and so he would “be pressing them to carry out works that are crucially obvious in this region”.

“We'll see if the new deal for regional Australian education does extend to a regional town or will it just be put on the back burner again 'til six months before election to allow the next Labor candidate to announce it along with other promises not delivered?

“We will be a very effective opposition and we will hold these people to their promises.”

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