One of the incoming senators who will hold a slice of the balance of power from July says the crossbenchers will not allow Tony Abbott to play them off against each other.

As the Prime Minister began this week to duchess the key senators and senators-elect to salvage his Budget, Family First's Bob Day said the crossbenchers were committed to staying united. "The Government needs six votes and there are eight of us," Mr Day told _The Weekend West. _

"We are in the box seat."

There is pressure for electoral law change after the shock election of a record number of crossbenchers last year, but Mr Day urged the public to give them a chance.

"I know the media likes to portray us as liquorice allsorts but we are all committed to doing a good job," he said. "If once we have started and this all becomes gridlocked, then make a case for changing the Electoral Act."

Mr Day met Mr Abbott on Wednesday, and said they respectfully listened to each other.

Although many Budget measures appear doomed at the hands of his colleagues, Mr Day offered support for the Medicare co-payment - though he believes it should be lower than $7 - and the higher education reforms.

Mr Day also said he got on well with Clive Palmer, revealing the mining magnate had driven him around in a golf cart for a personal tour of his Queensland dinosaur park resort.

Mr Abbott has also this week met the Democratic Labour Party's John Madigan, independent Nick Xenophon and Liberal Democrat senator-elect David Leyonhjelm.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who was busted dining with Mr Palmer this week, said "engagement and charm is a very valuable thing in politics and you've got to do it".

'We are all committed to doing a good job.'"Senator-elect


  • Bob Day *

The West Australian

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