The final potential independent MP that may decide which party becomes the Australian Government, Andrew Wilkie, has come out in support of Labor’s National Broadband Network.
In comments made to the ABC’s Stateline program and reported online, the Tasmanian MP said he was set to meet the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and Opposition leader, Tony Abbott, in coming days.
“I’m a strong believer in the National Broadband Network as advocated and being built by the Labor Party,” he said to the ABC. “On that particular issue I favour the Labor Party’s position.”
Wilkie is the last of five independents that are set to decide which party takes control of the nation. Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, Bob Katter and Adam Bandt make up the other four. Although his position isn’t set in stone, his lead in counting makes it likely that he will win.
Katter has also criticised the Coalition’s $6.3 billion plan as having too much privatisation.
Labor’s rollout of the NBN in Tasmania was widely seen as a contributor to its success in the state. The state is the first in Australia to get fibre to the premises and is currently on schedule and 10 per cent under budget, according to communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy.
Although the comments may come as a set back to the Coalition’s chances of forming a Government, political experts have long claimed Wilkie is unlikely to sign onto a Liberal-led Government after his experience as a whistle-blower during the Howard Government and his background as a former-Greens party member.