The coalition was absolutely prepared to negotiate with independents to form government but they soon realised Tony Abbott couldn't negotiate. Rob Oakshott, Tony Windsor and Andrew Wilkie gave their support to Julia Gillard because she had a plan. She was articulate and negotiated well. The best Tony Abbott could come up with when talking to Windsor was "I will do anything, Tony, to get this job; the only thing I wouldn't do is sell my ar$e!" Alarm bells were ringing for Windsor who now didn't trust Tony Abbott after negotiation meetings with him. He realised Abbott's style wouldn't work in a minority government and he believed Abbott's flaws would become more obvious in office. And he was right because look what happened last year. It took 17 days for the independents to decide who to form minority government with, and they saw Gillard as the better option for their electorate. It wasn't a decision they made in haste.
In 2010, the labor party had 72 seats and the coalition had 73. No clear majority and that just goes to show how professional Julia Gillard was when MP's from conservative electorates chose her because of the way she presented herself and what she had to offer.
I always laugh at the "minority government" comment because the coalition is 2 or 3 or more parties formed to make government. The liberal party would never gain enough seats alone to win government in its own right. In 2010, the liberal party won 44 seats. The other 29 seats came from the Nationals or LNP of Queensland or the Country Liberals. Even if you include the LNP of Queensland, they still only won 65 seats in 2010.
And don't get me started on TPV. The coalition governments in the past have done nothing but demonise asylum seekers and Muslims. Children overboard, anyone! It all started there. Sure, come and live in Australia for 3 years, but your family can't come and we will even send you back home. Please! Let's not pretend that the coalition care about asylum seekers. If they did, they wouldn't have used that awful "stop the boats" slogan and changed the name of the government agency to "border protection"