The Liberal and Labor parties, so opposed on most issues, have found one problem they can agree on -- keeping the minor parties in line. The two major parties have united behind a plan to keep the Greens and other minor parties down, linking a preference deal in the culmination of weeks of debate over how the government would direct their preferences.
As revealed by News Corp on Sunday, the Liberal Party will preference the Greens last, or at least behind Labor, in every seat. It ends long weeks of speculation over whether the Liberals would preference the Greens or Labor in certain seats, with the Greens competing directly with the ALP in several inner-city races in Sydney and Melbourne. The Liberal plan would likely shore up the chances of under-pressure Labor candidates like David Feeney in Batman, and even Anthony Albanese who is facing a strong challenge from Greens' candidate Jim Casey in Grayndler.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it was "in the national interest" to avoid a possible Labor-Greens coalition government.
"The big risk at this election is that we would end up with an unstable, chaotic minority Labor, Greens, independent government as we have seen before. As you have seen, some of the old band are trying to get back together. Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott are running," Turnbull said in Sydney on Sunday.
"You have the Greens trying to pull Labor to the left. They are succeeding, with higher taxes, weaker border protection, a more antique business agenda."
The Guardian also revealed on Sunday that Labor would preference the Liberals in three rural seats, where the Liberals were facing threats from Nationals candidates. Greens Melbourne MP Adam Bandt criticised the agreement on Twitter.
Labor is preferencing the Liberals to try to stop the Greens. The deal is on. https://t.co/E1OfCLyJue— Adam Bandt (@AdamBandt) June 12, 2016
The question of Liberal preferences has become an election issue for both the Greens and Labor in recent times, with each party accusing the other of inking a secret deal with the government. It was the subject of two separate websites -- greenliberaldeal.com.au and laborliberaldeal.com -- featuring some creative graphic design work, alleging the Liberals had agreed to terms with the other.
Bandt has previously called a Labor-Liberal agreement a "dirty deal" and said it would be the "sell out of the century".