Australia’s Prime Minister Says Independents Should Show Their Hand Before General Election

By AAP

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says independent candidates should say who they would support in government so voters know what they’re getting.

Scott Morrison wants independent candidates to declare which side of politics they will support if they get elected, so people know what they’re getting.

The prime minister believes voters deserve to know whether or not their independents would support the right-leaning coalition or left-leaning Labor, whoever wins the May 18 federal election.

“For those who are running as independents, I think that is entirely reasonable for them to be declaring that, so their voters know what their position is,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide on Tuesday.

“As we know, this is going to be a very close election.”

The push comes as coalition seeks to win a swag of seats from Labor and independents, and hold on to the ones it has, if it is to have any chance of retaining power.

“Kerryn Phelps over in Wentworth was pretending to be a Liberal, she’s voted with Labor 75 per cent of the time,” Morrison told Sydney radio 2GB.

“People present themselves as being middle of the road, but when they get in there, that’s what they do.

“It’s like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates—you never know what you’re going to get with these guys.”

Morrison said that includes Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie, who Liberal candidate Georgina Downer is hoping to defeat in the South Australian seat of Mayo.

“If you get Georgina Downer then you know that she’s supporting the Liberal-National government, but with others, you never know what you’re going to get.”

Independent candidate Zali Steggall, who is closing in on former prime minister Tony Abbott’s seat of Warringah with the help of activist group GetUp!, has said she’s inclined to support the coalition on economic matters, but is concerned about its lack of action on climate change.

Shorten took a jab at the coalition saying they should look at why so many women are running as independents in Liberal seats.

“Cathy McGowan used to work for a Liberal pollie but ran as independent,” Shorten told reporters in Burnie.

“Rebekah Sharkie used to work for a Liberal pollie but she’s had to run as an independent. Zali Steggall has never voted Labor, according to her, in her life.

“Julia Banks has touched a chord and she represents a strand of Liberals who this extreme right-wing Liberal Party no longer represents.”

By Angus Livingston and Marnie Banger