Disjointed Senate could see new, unidentified budget cuts
NEW and unidentified cuts to the Commonwealth's budget could soon be on the table if the Senate does not agree to the Abbott government's agenda.
Four months after the Treasurer Joe Hockey passed down his first budget, only one major measure has passed the parliament - a deficit tax on wealthy Australians.
But, without a majority in the Senate, Mr Hockey on Wednesday threatened the crossbench that he would cut budgets without legislation wherever possible, if it did not endorse the government's budget measures.
After extending sitting hours for the Senate this week to repeal the carbon tax, the government is facing an uphill battle to get more than $30 billion of budget measures through.
Among them are the $7 GP co-payment, ABS and SBS, the deregulation of university fees and grants to schools and hospitals, all of which have failed to gain support in the Upper House.
With a stalemate over much of the government's agenda, and parliament set to rise for six weeks, Mr Hockey may have to release new budget estimates due to the loss of key savings.
Mr Hockey on Wednesday said on ABC Radio the government may be forced to find savings across the gamut of government portfolios, without legislation.
While he did not detail where those cuts could come from, he said he was prepared to negotiate, but the government was "not going to step away from the fact the budget needs to be repaired".
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the government had failed to convince the public of the need to implement its budget measures.
He said the government needed to reassess its budget, rather than "bully" the Senate into passing it.