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Turnbull chalks up victory, eyes ABCC win

AAP logoAAP 21/11/2016 Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer

Malcolm Turnbull will pull out all stops to pass the second double-dissolution election trigger after a marathon Senate session endorsed a new body designed to crack down on union misconduct.

The prime minister returns from the APEC summit on Tuesday with the government having secured crossbench support for the Registered Organisations Commission bill in exchange for better whistleblower protections.

A delighted Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said the passing of the bill - the initial blocking of which Mr Turnbull used to trigger the July election - showed the coalition could work constructively with the Senate.

However she lambasted Labor for putting unions ahead of the public interest.

"I think it was a great shame they could not put the public interest, the national interest ahead of their politics and vote for enhanced transparency and accountability," she said.

Senator Cash looked forward to working with the crossbench on passing the bills to reinstate the Australian Building and Construction Commission, which are listed on the Senate notice paper as the first order of government business for Tuesday.

Crossbench senators are seeking amendments including greater accountability of the commissioner, support for apprentices, enforcement of building standards, protections for subcontractors and changes to the 457 foreign worker visa class.

The government needs some runs on the board to counter polling which gives Labor a 53-47 per cent two-party lead over the coalition.

The latest Newspoll, published in The Australian, put the coalition's primary vote at 38 per cent, tied with Labor, while support for independents is up at 14 per cent and the Greens are static at 10 per cent.

Of the 1738 voters surveyed, 43 per cent still think Mr Turnbull makes a better prime minister, compared to opposition leader Bill Shorten's 33 per cent reading

Negotiations are also continuing in the Senate to pass the government's backpacker tax plan.

The opposition, crossbench senator Jacqui Lambie and One Nation want the tax - originally slated by the coalition at 32.5 per cent - set at 10.5 per cent.

But Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the industry was on board with a compromise of 19 per cent.

"If it gets voted on and it's not (19 per cent) it (the bill) will go down," Mr Joyce told ABC radio on Tuesday, a day before a scheduled debate in the Senate.

If the bill fails, the tax rate defaults to 32.5 per cent.

Labor and coalition members are holding partyroom meetings on Tuesday morning.

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