ANY attempt by the Australian Greens to make policies more palatable for mainstream voters is deceptive and doomed to fail, says Senate opposition leader Eric Abetz.
On Thursday The Age reported that the Greens had redefined the party platform to portray many core beliefs as ''aims and principles'' rather than explicit policies, to present a smaller target to critics in a federal election year.
Acting leader Adam Bandt said on Thursday the revised policy platform would give voters more information on what the party stood for and how its ideas would be funded.
Mr Bandt said the minor party wanted to go to the next election able to tell voters it had a fully costed set of policies. ''Treasury wouldn't cost them for us and there wasn't an independent body that would do it,'' he said.
''So what we now have is a very strong policy platform that has been voted on and determined by our members by consensus.''
Mr Bandt said the Greens would go to the next election on the same footing as the two major parties. ''So our updated policy platform, together with the new parliamentary budget office, will allow the Greens to go to the next election as the most economically responsible party out of all the parties contesting the election.''
But Senator Abetz said the Greens were trying to hide ''extreme impulses'' and this would fail. ''The Greens will always be 'watermelons' - Green on the outside and red inside - no matter how they cloak their policies,'' he said. ''The Greens need to actually repudiate their extremist policies before people will believe they've changed. Deciding simply not to talk about them simply will not wash.''
Senator Abetz said the public viewed the party not as ''benign environmentalists'', but a hard-left movement bent on ''Marxist social engineering''.
The Greens were simply trying to change tack after setbacks in several recent state elections, he added. In the ACT election in October, the party's Legislative Assembly seats were cut from four to one.
The Greens will reportedly soften their stance on cutting federal government funding for private schools, and stop calling for the abolition of the 30 per cent private health insurance rebate.
Senator Abetz said the party had a history of supporting controversial ideas.
With LENORE TAYLOR, AAP