CANBERRA, Australia — A Greens lawmaker on Wednesday agreed to help the Labor Party form a minority Australian government in a widely anticipated alliance based on a desire to reduce the nation's greenhouse gas emissions.
The lawmaker is the first of six lawmakers from outside the major parties to announce which party they will support to form a government after Aug. 21 elections failed to deliver a winner for the first time in 70 years.
Labor would need an additional three lawmakers to form a minority government, but controls the caretaker administration in the meantime under Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
In return for the support of newly elected Greens lawmaker Adam Bandt, Gillard has agreed to a range of Greens demands including establishing an expert committee to investigate how Australia could introduce a tax for carbon gas pollution and allowing a parliamentary debate on the future of Australia's deployment of 1,550 troops to Afghanistan, Greens leader Sen. Bob Brown said.
"We are the first people in this balance of power ... to make a decision," Brown told reporters after the deal was signed. "We think that will help lead to others making a decision.
The Greens' support bolsters Labor's claim for a mandate to form a minority government because it brings the number of lawmakers under Gillard's control in the 150-seat House of Representatives to 73.