Gillard begins coalition talks after hung house

Steve Dinneen
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AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Julia Gillard last night began frantic negotiations with MPs who will decide whether her Labor party returns to power.

The election looks almost certain to result in a hung parliament, with analysts claiming both Gillard and her conservative rival Tony Abbott have a chance to form a coalition.

Gillard is most likely to make a pact with Green MPs, while Abbott could deal with rural independents.

The negotiations have thrown the future of a proposed 30 per cent mining levy into doubt.

Green MPs are likely to push for an even stricter tax on firms like Rio Tinto as they negotiate with Gillard.

A victory for Abbott’s Liberal-National coalition however would almost certainly result in the tax being scrapped altogether.