The ‘price of power’: Key independents list their conditions for support in next Parliament

Dr Haines said she would insist upon «cogent policy around climate» from both major parties in the event of a hung Parliament and a decision on whether Scott Morrison or Bill Shorten should become Prime Minister after the election.

«I’d want to see some pretty good work on that – and right now I haven’t seen that from the Coalition and I believe the Labor Party have not gone far enough,» she said.

Dr Phelps also named a national integrity commission as a key policy that would have to be embraced to ensure her support, an argument shared by Mr Yates, Dr Haines and others.

«People are now joining the demand for a national integrity commission and that is something that could be done within the first six months of a new Parliament,» Dr Phelps said.

The demands are a sign of confidence among key independents that climate change policy will help swing the federal election, helping them defeat Liberal or Nationals candidates.

Only one of the independents, Mr Wilkie, refused to negotiate at all with the major parties in the event of a tight election outcome that repeated the hung Parliament of 2010 or the minority government Mr Morrison has led since late last year.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie says he could be "taken for granted" if he cemented a deal with one of the major parties.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie says he could be «taken for granted» if he cemented a deal with one of the major parties.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

«I will not do a deal with one party or the other to help them form government,» Mr Wilkie said, adding that his experience in 2010 showed that he could be «taken for granted» if he cemented a deal with one of the major parties.

«I’ve learned that you don’t have to have a deal to be in a very fortunate position in the Parliament.»

One other independent, Mr Yates, said he did not believe he could support the Liberals because of their track record on climate change.


«I’m standing because of the Liberals’ appalling track record on climate change,» he said.

«I’m a left-leaning Liberal and the Liberal Party has become a right-wing outfit which is not representative of the party itself or its history.

«In the event of a hung Parliament, the Liberal Party’s policies are unacceptable and remain unacceptable and I would support Labor. This is a key issue and it would override other issues.»

Ms Banks said it was too early to indicate how she would decide on confidence and supply but she added that voters in Flinders, where she is seeking to topple Health Minister Greg Hunt, wanted action on climate change.

Labor faces objections from several of the independents to policies including an increase in tax revenue from changes to negative gearing and franking credits on share dividends.

Ms Steggall, Dr Phelps, Ms Banks and others oppose these changes.

But Ms Steggall said climate change was a fundamental concern among Warringah voters and the Liberal Party would have to return to the energy policy it put forward last year if it was to gain her support.

«There are a number in the Liberal Party who are in favour of taking action on climate change, but there is this unfortunate move to the right that’s occurred,» she said.

Ms Steggall said a return to the National Energy Guarantee advocated by former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull would be «the very least» the Liberals could do to ensure their policies were aligned with most Australians.

Several, including Mr Oakeshott, said the most recent federal decision to allow the Adani project to proceed, clearing the mine’s groundwater plan, should be reconsidered.

Rob Oakeshott says the Adani project needs to be reconsidered.

Rob Oakeshott says the Adani project needs to be reconsidered.Credit:James Brickwood

«I’m not confident it’s been a transparent process, particularly on issues around groundwater,» said Mr Oakeshott, who helped legislate the «water trigger» in federal environment law during the Gillard government.


«There’s no social license on this project. There’s questionable findings on whether it stands up with a business case and whether the process has been transparent.

«I do think there are issues which are reviewable in the next Parliament.»

Mr Wilkie said he would want the next government to oppose the Adani project.

«The Coalition is being upfront about their position. I am very disappointed that Labor continues to try to walk both sides of the track on this,» he said.

«Labor would be in a stronger position if it made it absolutely clear what its position is and then fought for it.»

David Crowe is Chief Political Correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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