PAGE MP Janelle Saffin, left, and Richmond MP Justine Elliot.
PAGE MP Janelle Saffin, left, and Richmond MP Justine Elliot. Jacklyn Wagner

Local MPs could learn fate today

LIKE most Australians, local MPs are anxiously ‘watching and waiting’ for a decisionto be made on who will begoverning the country.

The final say rests with three Independent MPs – Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor and Bob Katter – who are likely to announce today which party they will support.

The trio met Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott yesterday in Canberra in the lead-up to the big decision.

Despite the long-awaited decision finally nearing a conclusion, for Federal Labor MP for Page Janelle Saffin it is business as usual.

“I am doing the things I would usually do, but of course I am interested in the final outcome,” she said.

“I don’t think another election is in the wind. It is clear from all the statements made by the Independents that is not on anyone’s agenda.

“The MPs are in caretaker mode, so there has been no lobbying yet.

“But there are still a lot of things I attend to with our public servants and community events I attend.”

When asked whether she was nervous, Federal Labor MP for Richmond Justine Elliot simply said: “While the negotiations have been progressing I have continued to work with local community organisations, schools and residents as their local representative.”

Despite hanging in political limbo for the past two weeks, Ms Saffin believes the Independent MPs deserve all the time they need.

“I cannot imagine the responsibility they must feel,” she said. “I think they are better off being left alone to do it.

“They are three very experienced and able parliamentarians and politicians who understand rural and regional Australia. The Nationals were not able to represent them, which is why they are rural independents.”

Even Ms Saffin’s political opponents are backing a decision in Labor’s favour, with Coalition MP Warren Entsch predicting the three Independents will back a Julia Gillard-led government.

Currently, Labor holds 74 Lower House seats and the Coalition 73, with both parties falling short of the 76 needed to form government.

The three Independents have said which political party they support will depend on how their respective parliamentary reform proposals are received.



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