Federal Budget 2015 Federal Budget Greens ‘open’ to passing budget

Greens ‘open’ to passing budget

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Greens leader Richard Di Natale is willing to negotiate with the federal government about elements of its budget.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who is expected to meet Senator Di Natale later this week, on Monday said he stood by savings measures outlined in last year’s budget which were still necessary for Tuesday’s budget.

But Mr Abbott was open to considering other off-setting savings if the Senate failed to pass the coalition measures.

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The Greens object to the government linking the axing of some family tax benefits with new spending on childcare benefits.

Senator Di Natale, who has also requested talks with Treasurer Joe Hockey, said if the prime minister was willing to listen to other ideas that was a good thing.

“If there are those things in this package that we think are worth passing we’d look at doing that,” he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

However, the government was ignoring the “low hanging fruit” such as abolishing the diesel fuel rebate for mining companies and imposing higher taxes on wealthy superannuants.

“We’ve got a revenue problem at the moment,” Senator Di Natale said.

“Until he (Mr Abbott) acknowledges that fact, he’s not going to get the policies he wants.”

Greens spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said the party had a problem with the budget cutting back paid parental leave entitlements a year before the new childcare arrangements are put in place.

“There are going to be families left thousands of dollars out of pocket struggling to know what to do,” she said.

As the government weighs up further asset sales, the Greens leader said he disagreed with privatisation, saying it delivered little public benefit.

Senator Di Natale, who took over the leadership last week after Christine Milne’s retirement, also plans to talk to crossbench senators about the budget in coming weeks.

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