When Tony Windsor was questioned yesterday over his allegiance in any ALP leadership swap, the independent MP declared Kevin Rudd wouldn't get his automatic support. "I would be going back to the start and deciding between two candidates, Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd," he said. "Or whether there should be a third option -- let the people make the decision."

Fellow independent Rob Oakeshott made similar remarks. Less than two years ago it was their dual support that secured Julia Gillard the prime ministership. Gillard cinched the votes of Windsor and Oakeshott with a deal for regional development, education and infrastructure worth millions.