Independent candidate Andrew Wilkie says he is keen to discuss national policy reform and how southern Tasmania has been neglected during his meeting with Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Saturday.
Mr Wilkie made Ms Gillard wait about half an hour before arriving at their meeting in Melbourne.
“I’m going to discuss a range of issues with the prime minister, some issues in regard to national public policy, where I think there is room for reform,” he told reporters.
“Obviously a number of issues in regard to southern Tasmania and the electorate of Denison where I believe the electorate and that part of the state has been neglected for many years now, particularly because Denison has been a safe Labor seat.”
Mr Wilkie said he would release to the media a list of issues that he intended to discuss with both Ms Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
“I think it’s very important that there is transparency in these sort of talks,” he said.
“I am certainly very keen to collect all the information I can as soon as possible and to make a decision about where my support will lie – whether it be with the Labor Party, with the Coalition party or in fact whether I opt to support neither of them.”
The meeting inside Treasury Place began with a handshake and Ms Gillard asking how Mr Wilkie’s flight was from Hobart.Mr Wilkie then asked if the prime minister would mind if his wife and media adviser Kate Burton joined them for the meeting.
“Yeah, no, that’s fine,” Ms Gillard replied.”We’re certainly, we’re an office of chairs, that’s for sure,” she added, motioning to the variety of seats available.
The trio then sat down, with Mr Wilkie and Ms Burton quickly switching spots so he could sit closer to Ms Gillard.
They then began talks over a jug of water and a thin black binder placed on a coffee table.
The binder looked identical to packages Ms Gillard had handed to three other independents MPs recently that touted Labor’s record and planned election promises in each of their electorates.