POLITICS

Greens Demand Refugee, Climate Action For Support In Hung Parliament

'It must be a negotiation.'

29/06/2016 11:53 AM AEST | Updated July 15, 2016 12:56
Fairfax Media
Richard Di Natale with his Greens candidates in May.

This election is predicted to be close, and amid warnings that we may be in for a repeat of the 2010 hung parliament where Labor needed the support of independents to secure government, the Greens have demanded action on refugees, detention, the environment and indigenous rights in exchange for their support.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale and MP Adam Bandt outlined their wishlist on Wednesday, just days out from the poll which is still balanced precariously. The support of Greens and other independents in the House of Representatives may be crucial for either the Labor or Liberal parties to claim government, and at the tail-end of a campaign which has seen hysteria over alleged Labor-Greens and Liberal-Greens deals, the third party said they had a long list of demands for supporting either side.

"We will make sure strong climate laws are a critical component of any discussion that we have going into the next parliament. Strong renewable energy targets. Ensuring we have science-based emissions targets and reinforcing the architecture that we established after the 2010 election. More decency towards innocent people seeking refuge in this country, finding a better way through the mess that is the bipartisan cruelty adopted by the Government and the Labor Party. We want to see an end to offshore processing," Di Natale said.

PM Malcolm Turnbull and his senior ministers have recently taken up a new slogan, warning people of a "Greens-Labor-independent alliance" -- which Barnaby Joyce called "the glee club" -- and saying that voting for minor parties or the Greens would be a vote for Labor. Turnbull warned that voting independent was "a roll of the dice" and would lead to "chaotic government" and "policy paralysis". This may be because a recent poll reported the Greens and independent combined vote was higher than both the major parties:

On Wednesday, Di Natale also outlined hopes to expand Medicare-funded dental care, "end unfair tax breaks" for the wealthy, institute a treaty with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, legislate marriage equality, start work on campaign finance reform and political donations, and start a national anti-corruption watchdog.

"They are some of the key priorities that we take from our comprehensive election policy platform into any negotiations if there is a close election," he said.

Di Natale said the Greens "will be a force in the next parliament" but admitted that the policy positions were a "starting point" from which there may be some debate and compromise and did not rule out agreeing to terms with either side without a promise to scrap offshore processing.

"The position we have just put to you is a position that we will bring into any negotiation. It must be a negotiation," he said.

"As we did in 2010, we had a list of measures that we put forward to the then Labor Party and we saw significant change. We didn't get everything that we wanted... [but] you will see significant improvement in all of these areas if the Greens are elected in a close election."

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