Abbott wants a meeting of the minds with the Greens

THE ABBOTT Government is prepared to have a "meeting of minds" with The Greens on key budget measures it needs their support to get through the Senate, a key Coalition Senator said.

As the government faces a tough battle with Labor, the Palmer United Party and other Senate crossbenchers to pass its toughest budget measures, The Greens have emerged as potential supporters.

While Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne on Sunday told Fairfax she was not willing to negotiate on some issues, the party has previously voiced support for the government's paid parental leave policy and fuel excise increases.

Both these measures, which need to be passed in separate bills through parliament, have been criticised by Labor and Clive Palmer, who remain unlikely to back them.

But Leader of Government in the Senate, Senator Eric Abetz, told ABC on Monday that despite The Greens holding "extreme policy positions", the government was prepared to talk.

Despite saying that former Prime Minister Julia Gillard "sold her soul" to the minor party, Sen Abetz said "if there is a meeting of minds, so be it".

"And as a government, of course, we will accept the votes of any Senators if there is a meeting of minds, even if it is from a different perspective," he said.

"Well, Julia Gillard sold her soul and her parliamentary party's platform to do a deal with the Greens and, as a result, she was hopelessly compromised.

"What we are willing to do is talk on an issue-by-issue basis with anybody in the Senate to see if there can be a degree of commonality, and if we can achieve that then, of course, we will accept their votes,"

Several of the government's other budget measures are likely to face an icy reception during meetings expected this fortnight with other key players in the Senate.



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