Independent MPs to receive costings advice

10:02 pm on 27 August 2010

Three Australian independent MPs will receive Treasury advice on the costings and impact of Labor and the Coalition's election promises, normally reserved for the incoming government.

Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor and Bob Katter are expected to hold the balance of power in a hung parliament and have given a list of demands to caretaker Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition leader Tony Abbott, the ABC reports.

On Friday, Ms Gillard said she wanted to change caretaker conventions so senior public servants can give the independent MPs the advice.

She says Mr Abbott has agreed the three independents should get a briefing.

The Coalition had been refusing to give its policies to Treasury for costing due to a police investigation into a leak.

However, Mr Abbott has now agreed to do this, saying he is now satisfied the details will not be given to the government - just to the independent MPs.

Ms Gillard says there will not be any restrictions on what the MPs do with the information.

"What they say publicly about the information obtained is then a matter for them."

Ms Gillard says the independents may be critical in deciding who forms the next Australian government.

Mr Abbott says it would be unhelpful for the MPs to disclose the details before negotiations are finalised.