Independent MP Wilkie backs Labor

7:11 pm on 2 September 2010

Australian independent MP Andrew Wilkie has announced he will back a Labor minority government.

Mr Wilkie's decision means Labor has 74 definite seats, two short of the majority needed to secure power.

The Coalition is at 73 seats if West Australian Nationals MP Tony Crook is included, the ABC reports.

Mr Wilkie says Prime Minister Julia Gillard has agreed to work towards imposing restrictions on poker machines and approving more health funding.

Mr Wilkie hopes his decision helps the other independent MPs Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor and Bob Katter.

"I would hope this sends a signal to the other three independents and they move as quickly as they can, as I have done, to make their decisions and decide to support the party or parties in a way which will bring maximum stability to the parliament, so that the next government lasts the whole three years."

Mr Oakeshott, Mr Windsor and Mr Katter have been locked in meetings with Labor and Coalition figures in Canberra on Thursday as they work out which party to support in a minority government.

Mr Oakeshott says it is unlikely he will make a decision on which party to support before next week.