Finally the nation can breathe out, we have a Government. No need to fear dissent into Somalia-like anarchy or start looking for Mad Max. There is someone in charge and her name is Julia.
Standing in the Assembly scoffing a staffer’s chocolate chip banana bread (Bob Katter eat your heart out) with “Canberra Times” reporter Noel Towell I was struck by a couple of things.
Firstly that the briefing by Palestinian Ambassador Izzat Abdulhadi had just delivered to a bunch of ACT MLAs might contain wisdom far beyond his intentions in terms of negotiations and tense relationships for an upcoming minority Labor Government.
“Through current negotiations we are optimistic we can find a solution, although it is difficult,” Abdulhadi said.
“But negotiation is just one component element, there are many elements.
“It is now about positions, not negotiations.
“Even if it fails this is not the end and we should not be very pesmistic.
“We admire Australia’s multicultural model.
“We want Australia to know you can have another friend.”
Yes Australia, you can have friends who like bananas, friends who like trees, friends who like broadband and friends who stretch their 15 minutes of fame to half an hour while the country tunes into ABC News 24.
Bob Katter announced earlier on today that he would be supporting the Coalition, so when independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott took to the stage word on the street was they’d be going the other way.
Which brings me to my second striking, I now know why it took 17 days for them to decide.
The independents press conference hit Monty Python-esque levels of rambling, with Greens Leader Meredith Hunter commenting that Windsor had a “bit of the Stanhope about him” and that she quite fancied Oakeshott, Caroline Le Couteur agreed the independent who will not stop talking was also a bit of alright.
I was nearly asleep by the time Oakeshott joined Windsor in announcing his support for the Labor Party.
No big surprises for the ACT’s MPs, Andrew Leigh thinks it’s great, Kate Lundy thinks its awesome, Gai Brodtmann didn’t answer her phone and Gary Humphries hasn’t had his press conference yet.
Leigh said the time independents took to back a party was understandable because it was a tough decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
“I think it’s a terrific outcome and it’s going to be a strong and effective government,” Leigh said. “I’m delighted to be a government back-bencher and not an opposition back-bencher.”
“I agree with the optimism of people like Steve Bracks and Peter Beattie when they talk about how they got minority government to work in their states.”
Lundy said she was waiting on the edget of her seat.
“It’s just great news, we’ve all been sweating on the outcome.
“It was really intense! I think it’s clear these guys weren’t taking any shortcuts they considered a great deal of detail and no one can take that away from them.
“I’m glad they decided to support us, the party with the best prospects for Australia.
“I was particularly pleased to hear Windsor cite the National Broadband Network as one of the key issues.
“It’s good news for the nation that we’ll now have a NBN.”
As for Lundy’s chances at nabbing a portfolio communications or otherwise, she was pretty clear:
“I think it’s common knowledge that I would like to have a front bench role and that’s up to Julia Gillard.”