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Shorten up for compromise, not bullying

AAP logoAAP 28/08/2016 Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics Correspondent

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is willing to work with the Turnbull government in the new parliament, but warned he won't be bullied into accepting its policies.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is confident there will be give and take in this parliament, pledging it will come to grips with the nation's budgetary challenge.

Federal MPs and senators return to Canberra on Tuesday for the first sitting since the July 2 election.

"One way or another, at the end of this 45th Parliament, I want Australians to be able to say that this parliament, ... has come to terms with the budgetary challenge we face," Mr Turnbull told ABC TV on Sunday.

"It will stop the irresponsible business of loading a mountain of debt on the shoulders of our children and grandchildren."

Mr Shorten said Labor will try to work with the government on budget repair that is fair.

"Co-operation is a two-way street ... bullying people is not the way to get co-operation, it's compromise, it is working with people rather than always lecturing them," he told reporters in Melbourne.

He said he would take the prime minister up on his latest line of the "sensible centre".

"Everyone knows that in the very middle of the sensible centre of Australian politics is Medicare ... it's the central value of Australian life," he said.

Tuesday's sitting will be largely ceremonial as Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove opens the parliament, and then it will be down to business on Wednesday and Thursday.

Manager of Government Business Christopher Pyne says there will be a slew of bills, including the restoration of the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

There will be the $6.5 billion ominbus bill, which covers a range of measures Labor indicated it would support during the election campaign, along with promised personal income tax changes and the $50 billion 10-year plan to reduce the corporate tax rate.

"We have a moral responsibility to recover the budget ... and stop paying money on interest payments on debt," Mr Pyne told Sky News.

Mr Turnbull defended his decision to hold a double-dissolution election, saying the Senate crossbench would have been even larger without it with 12 senators rather than the 11 it ended up with.

But Labor's manager of opposition in the Senate Sam Dastyari says it is still a tough upper house the government will have to work with.

"The government went to a double dissolution with the aim and goal of having a better Senate ... this is not a better Senate," he told Sky News, noting a block of four One Nation senators, a three-strong Nick Xenophon team, and a variety of independent senators.

But Mr Turnbull remains optimistic.

"We'll find the support that we need in the Senate to secure the passage of the legislation that is so important for budget repair and for ensuring that we continue to have a strong economy," he said.

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