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Thursday, 26 August 2010 14:46

Windsor pings Abbott; asks for NBN costings

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New South Wales independent MP Tony Windsor says he would be surprised if Opposition leader Tony Abbott doesn't submit his election promises to Treasury for costing, calling it a poor start to discussions he may have with the Coalition over forming a government.


Mr Windsor, who is one of three rural independents who may decide the outcome of last weekend's federal election, says he's "not hunting a fox here" and will expect the same costing details from government - including a detailed briefing on costing for Labor's $43 billion National Broadband Network.

With north Queensland independent Bob Katter and Rob Oakeshott from the NSW mid north coast, Mr Windsor wrote to the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott with a seven-point request for information. It included that all election promises by costed through the Department of Treasury.

He says Mr Abbott's offer to provide the three independents with the costing analysis of the Coalition's own accountants as not good enough, saying "the same people have got to assess both (sides)."

"I would be very surprised if he doesn't concur with his polices being costed by Treasury," Mr Windsor told Sky News.

"We're not hunting for a fox here, we're trying to find a baseline in terms of information," he said.

He said he understood Mr Abbott's view that Treasury "may not understand" the Coalition policies, but said the Opposition would have the opportunity to explain any nuances of the policies.

"And I want to do the same with the Government. That $43 billion broadband plan '¦ I haven't seen the final detail on that. The concept seems fine, but how's it all going to play out in terms of costing?"

"We want to see what they've been doing with that. So its not just Tony Abbott, it's also about the Labor Party, and its very importantly about establishing a degree of trust," Mr Windsor said.

"If there is a government to formed, I want to be able to trust the people that are in it," he said.

The Prime Minister yesterday wrote to the three rural independents offering them a briefing from the NBN Company chief executive Mike Quigley.

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