Political Patchwork Creates New Aussie Government There's political turmoil in Australia, where a new government has been formed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard's Labor Party and a coalition of independents. It's a minority government one lawmaker called "beautiful in its ugliness." Host Liane Hansen speaks with Australian broadcaster Richard Glover about the fragile new coalition government in that country.
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Political Patchwork Creates New Aussie Government

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Political Patchwork Creates New Aussie Government

Political Patchwork Creates New Aussie Government

Political Patchwork Creates New Aussie Government

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/129809841/129809823" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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There's political turmoil in Australia, where a new government has been formed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard's Labor Party and a coalition of independents. It's a minority government one lawmaker called "beautiful in its ugliness." Host Liane Hansen speaks with Australian broadcaster Richard Glover about the fragile new coalition government in that country.

LIANE HANSEN, Host:

Richard Glover is with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, he's on the phone from Sydney. Good day, Richard.

RICHARD GLOVER: Good day, Liane.

HANSEN: Now, this is the first time since 1940 a clear winner as prime minister hasn't been known immediately after an election. This sounds familiar. I think the United States went through this when Al Gore and George Bush were running for president.

GLOVER: So, it all came down to these five independents from what we call the bush and rural farming communities, and they ended up with all the power and they got to decide.

HANSEN: Her opposition from the Liberal Party was Toby Abbott. But explain how Gillard got to be prime minister, because she wasn't elected at first. Am I correct?

GLOVER: And so that's what happened a few months ago. The Labor Party was in power. They had the most seats in the House of Representatives. They collectively decided that the prime minister wasn't doing a good job anymore. They ditched him.

HANSEN: Why should Americans care?

GLOVER: It's not a dramatic thing, I don't think, in some ways. It's important for Australians, obviously. I think the drama from now on is how long it will last. Remember this all comes down to how many votes you can command in the House of Representatives. She is so close now. She only holds power by this one vote.

HANSEN: You can almost imagine Julia Gillard going around and removing the salt shakers from the tables in the Labor Caucus Party room, making sure that no one looks red in the face. Sit down. Take it easy. Please, don't have that bacon and eggs for breakfast.

HANSEN: Richard Glover is the host of "Drive" on ABC - that's Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Radio in Sydney. Thanks very much.

GLOVER: Liane, thank you.

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