Australian independents hold final meetings

2:55 pm on 6 September 2010

Australia's three independents are holding a final round of meetings before deciding which party will form the next federal government.

Labor is leading the race to form a minority government, holding 74 of the required 76 lower house seats, while the Coalition has 73 seats.

It is now up to the three rural independents to decide whether Julia Gillard stays in the job of prime minister or Opposition leader Tony Abbott takes over.

Tony Windsor, Bob Katter and Rob Oakeshott are holding meetings with Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott in Canberra on Monday.

Labor and the Coalition could end up with 75 seats each, depending on which way the three independents decide to go.

Labor has 74 seats with the help of the Greens and another independent in Hobart, while the Coalition has 73.

On Sunday, the three MPs said they did not feel intimidated into backing a Coalition government.

Mr Abbott used a newspaper opinion piece to argue that they would be defying their electorates if they were to support Labor to form a government.

Labor has accused the Coalition of almost trying to intimidate the MPs, but Mr Windsor says he does not feel pressured by the comments.