The Greens are open to forming a coalition government with the Labor Party in the event of a hung or close parliament after the federal election, but ALP leader Bill Shorten wasted no time in shooting down the idea.
Adam Bandt, the Member for Melbourne and sole Greens representative in the lower house, flagged the idea on Q&A on Monday night. When asked about the possibility of Labor and the Greens teaming up for a progressive coalition government, Bandt said:
That's what I would like to see happen and if we do end up in a situation where, like 2010, where no-one wins and everyone has to negotiate, then I would like to see Greens working with Labor.
"We're up for it and I think you'd want an agreement that delivers a stable and effective and progressive parliament and everyone would have to give a bit because it would have to be reasonable... but it certainly, I think, would help us kick-start, for example, clean-energy and close the gap between the rich and the rest in this country," he continued.
"I think the big question will be whether Labor wants to do it."
That question was answered, in emphatic fashion, when Shorten appeared on ABC radio in North Queensland on Tuesday morning. Shorten's answer, to quote a certain Daryl Kerrigan: "he's dreaming."
"Labor will fight this election to form its own government and to form a government in our own right. If you want a progressive government, if Australians want a progressive government...then vote Labor. Labor will not be going into coalition with any party," Shorten said.
"Adam Bandt is saying these things because they've been caught out. The Greens and the Liberals, arch enemies on every political issue, are doing preference deals where the Liberals would preference the Greens, even though the Greens are further away from what the Liberals think on many issues even than Labor."
Shorten appeared to be referencing a story in Tuesday's Herald Sun newspaper, alleging the Greens had done a preference deal with the Liberal Party in the seat of Batman to defeat sitting Labor member David Feeney.
"In Australia, we have a system where the worst thing that could happen for working people, for middle class people that is that the progressive vote splits. The Greens don't really care about beating the Liberals, they're just competing with the Labor Party," Shorten alleged.
"The Greens aren't running serious in any seat against the Liberal Party so this is an argument where they try to say to Labor voters you can have your cake and eat it to, you can vote for us and really it's a vote for Labor. It's absolutely not."