The new Senate cross benchers are not a motley crew, "they're all God's children" says Coalition senator Eric Abetz, as the government prepares to start negotiations with the incoming senators on a range of issues including the repeal of the carbon tax.
Asked on ABC radio on Tuesday if the government would resist being held hostage by ''this motley crew'' of new senators, the government's leader in the Senate rejected the term, saying that he would treat the record number of crossbenchers in the Senate with respect individually and in whatever voting groups they adopted.
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Senator Abetz said the repeal of the carbon and mining taxes were the government's priority and it would then seek to discuss budget measures such as the $7 GP fee.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has also told ABC radio that the repeal of the carbon and mining taxes are the government's first priorities, followed by the passage of budget measures it is struggling to find support for.
A Newspoll published on Tuesday found support for the government has crashed to 10 points below its election-winning vote, with Labor leading the Coalition 55-45 on a two-party preferred basis.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten also leads Mr Abbott as preferred prime minister by 10 percentage points 44- 34.
Mr Abbott dismissed the worsening poll figures, saying that ''it was never going to be easy to tackle Labor's debt and deficit disaster''.
''It was never going to be easy to do this, but it was absolutely necessary to get it done . . . I said until I was blue in the face before the election that there was a budget emergency; we would tackle it; we would get the budget back under control and that's what we're doing,'' he said.
Senator Abetz said the government would be "practical" and would work through issues with the new senators "case by case".
"As the Prime Minister said we're not going to hector or lecture them but we will be strongly advocating the reasons why we have put these budget measures in place and we'll see how it plays out," he told Radio National.
"Let's wait and see if anything does get deadlocked in the Senate."
On the second anniversary of the carbon tax, Mr Abbott said its repeal was the first point of order for the new Senate and he expected crossbenchers in the Palmer United Party to be true to their word and vote for its abolition.
But he also again expressed concern about the renewable energy target, which the government wants to water down as part of its changes to the carbon tax repeal package, saying it drove up power prices and threatened Australian companies and households.
His comments come despite his own government-commissioned analysis finding consumers will be better off if the target is kept.
Mr Abbott is facing pressure from his own backbench to exempt aluminium smelters from the RET, which is designed to ensure 20 per cent of all electricity comes from clean sources by 2020.
The Prime Minister has attributed the climate policy and the carbon tax - which rises to $25.40 from Tuesday - to making Australia an ''unaffordable energy capital''.
Mr Abbott wouldn't predict the outcome of a government review of the RET, but said the scheme posed a ''serious threat'' to household budgets and energy-intensive industries.
''All of us should want to see lower prices and plainly at the moment the renewable energy target is a very significant impact on higher power prices,'' he told ABC radio on Tuesday.
''I don't want to lose perfectly good industries that employ thousands of people and which value add for our country.''
Liberal MPs concerned about the cost imposed by the RET on energy-intensive aluminium smelters have signed a petition calling on the government to consider the sector as it reviews the climate policy.
Clive Palmer has vowed to oppose any changes to the RET before 2016, meaning the government could struggle to implement any of the recommendations to come from the review.
''I don't take anything for granted and I don't count my chickens prematurely,'' Mr Abbott said.
''Nevertheless I think the public are entitled to expect the carbon tax to go in the next week or so.''
The Prime Minister said he was determined to work with new senators on large parts of the budget the government still needs to find support for.
Mr Abbott said he appreciated the Senate had ''a mind of its own'' but criticised Labor and the Greens for ''mindless obstruction'' of government bills in the past nine months.
Senator Abetz said voters never enjoyed hearing that belt-tightening was necessary, but Australians were commonsense people and the budget would appeal to their ''sense of decency''.
''It is simply economically irresponsible and morally wrong to steal the inheritance from the next generation and leave them with a legacy of debt so we can maintain our lifestyle today.''