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Brandt has signed up with Labor after Bob Brown was promised a carbon tax. Wilkie has signed up with Labor after he was promised a renovated hospital in Hobart.

Tony Abbott now needs to be absolutely clear about three things.

Firstly, the Liberal party will not be buying votes. It will not be making infrastructure or funding promises to independents or anyone else, if those promises come at the expense of other Australians.

Mr Abbott needs to make it clear that funds will allocated in line with policy and need. There will be no sweetheart deals. He will not be pressured into making unreasonable promises to a few, which the many will have to pay for.

Secondly, there can be no unconditional promise to remain in government for the full three years. Such a promise would be unreasonable at any time. It is completely unreasonable at this time.

The Greens and their Labor buddies will control the Senate. It is almost certain they will use that power to block supply or stop or delay crucial legislation. If the Liberal party is able to form government, it will only govern with the consent of the Greens and Labor.

That is not a situation in which a party and its leaders can responsibly promise to stay in government for a fixed term.

Finally, Tony Abbott and the Liberals must now emphasise, over and over again, the fiscal responsibility of the Coalition, the consistently better economic results under a Coalition government.

The Liberals may still lose this election, and if they do, the country will find itself suffocating under a staggering level of economic incompetence.

The next few years will be dire for small business, for the mining and manufacturing sectors, for rural and remote communities – for everyone who actually produces useful, valuable goods and services.

I hope Tony Abbott can still win. That would save us from the worst of the combined malice and ineptitude of a Greens/Labor alliance.

But if not Tony, then at least lose with honour.

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