CANBERRA - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's center-left Labor Party will form a minority government to rule Australia for a second three-year term, after two independent lawmakers joined her coalition Tuesday in the interest of stable government.
The decision by Tony Windsor and Robb Oakeshott gives Gillard's party control of 76 seats in the 150-seat House or Representatives and avoids the need for another round of polls, following inconclusive elections late last month.
It also means Gillard can continue with her plans to introduce a 30 percent tax on iron ore and coal miners' burgeoning profits and make Australia's biggest polluters pay for carbon gas emissions.
Abbott's coalition won 73 seats and another independent, Bob Katter, announced earlier Tuesday that he preferred Abbott as prime minister, partly because he opposed the mining and carbon tax plans.
August 21 elections were the first since 1940 to fail to deliver a clear winner.