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Joe Hockey warns he will bypass Senate to push tough budget measures through

Treasurer Joe Hockey has warned the Labor Party and the Greens to pass tough budget measures through the Senate or the government will find other ways to push through savings.

But the opposition says if the government wants to "sneakily" avoid the Parliament it will have a case to answer with voters.

As the government prepares to front an extended Senate sitting to pass the mining and carbon tax repeals, Mr Hockey said he was prepared for "a marathon" negotiation to win the new Senate's approval for unpopular budget measures, such as a new GP fee.

He said Labor and the Greens risked dealing themselves out of any political influence if they did not approach talks with an open mind.

"I say to Labor and the Greens, if your instinct is to say no immediately and to stick with that, you are dealing yourself out of having an influence on public policy," Mr Hockey told ABC radio on Wednesday.


"Because if the immediate reaction is no with no opportunity to open discussion ... then there are other alternatives that we can take."

Mr Hockey said there were already budget measures that the government did not need legislation for.

He said if the government could not clinch the votes it needed on the Senate floor for proposals that would be presented as separate legislation, it would have no choice but to find alternatives.

Mr Hockey added that the warning was not "retribution" against an increasingly unpredictable Senate, and the government remained open to discussions.

''If the Senate chooses to block savings initiatives then we need to look at other savings initiatives that may not require legislation," Mr Hockey said.

''I would ask the Greens and the Labor Party, who between them hold 35 votes on the floor of the Senate, to understand that there are alternatives through government.''

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said the opposition was happy to negotiate with the government, but the Treasurer's approach was all ''bluff and bluster''.

''If the Treasurer thinks he can sneakily get his changes through by somehow avoiding the Parliament well he should explain to the Australian people what he's planning instead of the normal bluff and bluster we're get from this guy,'' he told ABC radio on Wednesday.

''What we're seeing is pretty much a Prime Minister and a Treasurer who just think, well, we'll arrogantly say what's going to happen and we'll just say that it will pass the Senate and saying it will pass the Senate means it will pass the Senate.

''Well that's not how parliaments work.''

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