Australian PM Calls For Truce With Rivals

SYDNEY (AFP) – Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard urged the conservatives not to bring down her fragile government as the key Greens party Sunday called for a tougher mining tax and an end to the euthanasia ban. Gillard failed to win an outright majority at August 21 polls but scraped into office by brokering the support of three rural independents and a Greens MP, leaving her with a shaky rule. Her once deeply unpopular rival Tony Abbott managed a spectacular comeback which almost saw him snatch power, and he has threatened to attack her fragile coalition, which he claims has no mandate to govern. The Welsh-born former lawyer took aim at Abbott in her first major speech since the election, calling for him to "set aside short term partisanship in pursuit of long-term progress". "The Parliament has not yet even met, but Mr Abbott has already spoken of how he wants to bring the government down," Gillard said Saturday night in an address to members of her ruling Labor party. "It?s understandable that members on all sides may see political opportunity in that kind of approach, and I appreciate it?s a strong temptation for a leader of the opposition who came so closely to victory. "But I think there?ll be a lot of disappointment in our community if that easy option is taken," she added. Instead of resigning themselves to deadlock Gillard said lawmakers should seize the cliffhanger result as an opportunity, adding that it was "not a time for inaction, for filibustering or obstructing progress."