Gillard slides in on back of NBN

The National Broadband Network played a key role in Labor securing the votes of independent rural MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor to put Labor over the line to form a minority government.

The National Broadband Network played a key role in Labor securing the votes of independent rural MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, which put Labor over the line to form a minority government.

Labor leader Julia Gillard is now set to become Australia's first elected female Prime Minister after two of the three independents decided to side with Labor, giving the party a slight majority of 76-74 over the Coalition in the lower house. Windsor stated that the National Broadband Network was a "major influence" in his ultimate decision to back Labor.

"There's an enormous opportunity for regional Australians to engage with the infrastructure of this century and ... I thought [that] was too good an opportunity to miss," he said.

"Do it once, do it right and do it with fibre," he added.

In a lengthy speech before announcing that he too would would side with Labor, Oakshott said that broadband was also a key issue he took into consideration when making his decision.

The third independent MP Bob Katter ultimately decided to side with the Coalition, noting that the party had agreed to eight of his 20 key points, none of which included high-speed broadband.

Although Katter said he believed that the broadband policies were not that far apart, when asked whether the Coalition had offered a better broadband plan, Katter said he thought "there's a better broadband deal from the ALP".

"But I'm not an expert in that field," he said, adding that he wasn't prepared to sit around "doing a Dutch auction" for another week. Katter said his decision would have been different if Kevin Rudd was still Labor leader.

On Q&A last night Katter praised Labor for embarking on the National Broadband Network project despite there being "no votes" in the project.

With the Labor Government set to return, the NBN project has gained a new lease of life as iiNet CEO Michael Malone was quick to point out Twitter.

"Oh goodie. We're going to have an [NBN]," he tweeted.