Oakeshott backs later poll date
Rob Oakeshott

A key independent MP will back Julia Gillard holding the Federal election on November 30 next year - the latest possible date.

NSW MP Rob Oakeshott also hit out at Opposition Leader Tony Abbott for saying the Australian people would be cheated if the poll was not held in August.

With NSW independent Tony Windsor, Mr Oakeshott signed a supply and confidence agreement with the Prime Minister two years ago saying Parliament should run its full term and the election would be next September or October.

Mr Oakeshott said yesterday he was now open to allowing the Parliament to run later.

"Provided the Labor Party remains focused on delivering all agreements reached in 2010, going full term to November 30, 2013, is not to be ruled out," he said.

Ms Gillard and Labor strategists will welcome the comments in the belief that the longer the term lasts, the more likely the Opposition's big lead in polls can be cut.

Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan told Labor MPs yesterday that Mr Abbott's short-term strategy was "not built to last".

He said Mr Abbott had already "hit a brick wall" with his predictions of economic armageddon after the carbon tax was introduced on July 1 proved wrong.

Mr Abbott called yesterday for his MPs to show discipline, saying being in Opposition to a minority Government was difficult because all parliamentary votes were close and everything was "tense".

Despite a "landslide" lead in polls, he warned the partyroom about being complacent.

Last month he told colleagues Ms Gillard would be cheating voters if she did not call an August poll.

Mr Oakeshott asked Mr Abbott to explain the comment because there was no constitutional or parliamentary argument to support it.

He asked if Mr Abbott had read his public agreement with Ms Gillard and why the election window in it was not clear to him.

An election on November 30 next year would make it the longest parliamentary term since Federation.

The record length of time between two elections was December 1906 to March 1910, a period that encompassed two minority governments led by Alfred Deakin and Andrew Fisher.

The West Australian

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