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Independent kingmakers meet in Canberra -

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LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: The independents at the centre of the election deadlock have been meeting
in Canberra tonight and they'll talk to the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader tomorrow.

The Coalition's chances of doing a deal with the independents may have improved slightly.

The ABC's election analyst has called a loss for Labor in the Tasmanian seat of Denison, with the
seat going to an independent.

Of the three remaining undecided seats, the Liberals are ahead of the ALP in two.

That would give the Coalition 73 to Labor's 72 with one Green and four independents.

Stephanie Kennedy reports from Canberra.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY, REPORTER: It was a meeting of old friends: the three independents who will
decide who will form the next government met face-to-face for the first time since the election.

ROB OAKESHOTT, INDEPENDENT MP: So we're gonna have a good hearty meeting and more than likely
continue tomorrow morning.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: And they're in no hurry.

TONY WINDSOR, INDEPENDENT MP: We don't wanna rush this process. It's a critical process.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Wearing his trademark hat, the man known as the Mad Katter is still angry over
how the bush was treated by the Coalition.

BOB KATTER, INDEPENDENT MP: I'm not making any presumptive statements one way or other. I mean,
Tony's mob were in there for 12 years. At the end of the 12 years, there was a farmer committing
suicide every four days in this country. You know, if they were good for the bush, I'm a Martian
astronaut.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: And he has some scores to settle with the Nationals' Leader Warren Truss.

JOURNALIST: Warren Truss says that he wants you and him to forgive and forget and be best buddies.
Can you see that happening?

BOB KATTER: He shoulda thought of that before he shot his mouth off the other night, shouldn't he?
He's obviously had his backside well and truly kicked!

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Given the history, the Nationals' Leaders have been benched from the
negotiations.

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: Over the years there's been a bit of bad blood between different
individuals, but the fact is we all want to see a stable, effective and competent government
emerge.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: There's no bad blood with the Liberal Deputy. She had an informal chat with the
independents. They're pushing for parliamentary reform and Mr Abbott, who was once the Coalition's
parliamentary attack dog, ...

TONY ABBOTT (archive footage): What a fraud! What a phoney! What a complete fake!

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: ... is morphing into a puppy dog.

TONY ABBOTT: I think we can have a kinder, gentler polity. I think we can be a more collegial
polity than we've been. I think that the spirit of Parliament has been needlessly confrontational,
especially over the last three years.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: In the corridors of power, the crossbenches crossed paths, as Rob Oakeshott
raised the prospect of a unity Cabinet where Labor and Coalition MPs serve together in government.

ROB OAKESHOTT: At least explore some of the multi-party options that could form an executive and
get us beyond 76, which is a very tricky figure for the next three years. That is one by-election
away from trouble.

TONY ABBOTT: I'm a very magnanimous man, but that might be going a little too far.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Not going too far offering the independents ministerial positions as part of the
negotiations.

TONY WINDSOR: No, no, I'm not interested.

BOB KATTER: I'm not in the business of being conned. I might look like a mug, but ...

ROB OAKESHOTT: I'd be interested in having a conversation, but only if it's not about red team or
blue team, it's about Parliament and about the future of this nation.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Back in his electorate, the voters have their own interests in mind when it
comes to which side their federal MP should back.

VOX POP: Preference to Labor because we need the National Broadband.

VOX POP II: Not Labor. That's all I've got to say about it.

VOX POP III: Probably, in my view, Labor.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Counting continues in the undecided seats. The ABC is calling Denison for the
independent Andrew Wilkie, so the Gang of Three will soon become a gang of four.

TONY WINDSOR: If you can just give us a bit of time to try and work this out. I think there's good
will in the room and there's good will elsewhere as well, so I think - and I think there's good
will with the population.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: But the electorate's good will won't last long if the negotiations drag on.

Stephanie Kennedy, Lateline.