The federal government has “options” if Labor and the minor parties block key budget measures in the Senate, Liberal frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull says.
The communication minister had been asked about Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s veiled threat earlier this week that the government could call a double dissolution election if it was thwarted.
Labor has already lined up against the coalition’s plans for deregulated university fees, a Medicare co-payment, fuel tax rise and hits to pensions and the benefits, while the Australian Greens and Palmer United Party are also against a variation of these measures.
“If they seek to frustrate us doing the job the Australian people just elected us to do then there are all sorts of options – negotiation, see if common ground can be found, is one … and the other alternative is a double dissolution,” Mr Turnbull told Nine Network on Friday.
“But I don’t think we need to get ahead of ourselves here, we’ve just had an election.
“We have a new government with a very clear mandate to get the budget back into shape.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on Thursday baited Mr Abbott over his threat, saying if he wanted an election “try us”.
Mr Turnbull said Mr Shorten was in a state of denial over the deteriorating budget position.
Labor’s Tanya Plibersek told Nine that Treasurer Joe Hockey’s budget was “terrible” and would hurt families.