Australia`s new Parliament to meet on September 28

For the first time in 70 years, Australia has a minority government.

Melbourne: Australia`s new Parliament will meet for the first time on September 28 after last month`s election catapulted to power a minority government for the first time in 70 years.

Julia Gillard-led Labor party won the support of an Australian Greens MP and three independent lawmakers after protracted negotiation following the August 24 general election.

Labor, which has 72 of the chamber`s 150 seats, on its own needs the support of at least four crossbenchers to have its legislations approved by the lower house.

For the first time in 70 years, Australia has a government without an absolute majority in the lower house. The Parliament will sit for three days in its first week.

Another four weeks of sittings are planned before the end of the year.

According to `The Australian`, Prime Minister Gillard today told the Labor caucus that the Parliament will sit on September 28 and also confirmed a "serious review" of the election result and the "future direction of the party".

Labor MPs were encouraged to raise issues and constructive criticism, with Gillard urging a new spirit of engagement and inclusiveness.

The Prime Minister, who had received a standing ovation from MPs, said caucus would have to find new ways of working, and put a greater focus on generation of ideas.

She also urged her colleagues to "build on the future, not dwell on the past".

Gillard portrayed Labor as the "navigators of the future" and the party of optimism, stressing that strength now lay in working more as a team.

A lawmaker also raised the point that more constructive criticism was needed in the caucus if issues again emerged concerning the leadership of the party, like the one earlier in the year when Kevin Rudd was ousted.

The appointment of the executive remains an outstanding issue, but Gillard stressed she would appoint "the best team who could act in the national interest".

The Coalition also held its first party room meeting, with Tony Abbott telling MPs they had made the country proud.

"This is a great team... It`s a band of brothers and sisters. We are united in our values, we are united in our faith in ourselves and in our country," he said.

PTI

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