BREAKING NEWS

Australian 'kingmakers' to see candidates' budget estimates

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia's  two major parties granted independent lawmakers access Friday to confidential projections of how much their campaign promises would cost — key information for the legislators who will play kingmakers following an inconclusive election.
Since neither of the major parties secured a majority in the vote, both sides are wooing a Greens lawmaker and four independents who won seats in the 150-member House of Representatives, where governments are formed.
Three of the independent lawmakers said this week they couldn't make their decision about whether to support Prime Minister Julia Gillard's Labor Party or the conservative coalition led by the Liberal Party's Tony Abbott until they knew more about how much their respective promises would cost.
The Treasury and Finance Departments usually work up such figures, but they are generally only for the eyes of the incoming government. Both Gillard's and Abbott's consent was necessary to release the data.
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