Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne has welcomed the Prime Minister's comments this morning about navigating the new Senate with respect, but says he will face a steep learning curve if that respect extends only to conservative Senators.
Mr Abbott stated that the Greens have lost the balance of power and that this was a ‘great political achievement for the Coalition'.
"I wonder what the rest of Australia thinks about Prime Minister Abbott taking credit for the bizarre make-up of the new Senate," Senator Milne said.
"There is going to be a very steep Senate learning curve for Mr Abbott. He'll quickly be frustrated unless he changes his crash or crash through attitude.
"Putting aside the rank hypocrisy of him now talking about dealing constructively with minor parties after three years of hysterical attacks on minority government and on former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Mr Abbott will have to come to terms with not having total power.
"The Prime Minister always wanted total control without any checks and balances. He wants the Senate to wave through his cruel, ideological and secretive agenda - but it simply won't.
"Shared balance of power is exactly that - shared. Mr Abbott will need to compromise and negotiate in spite of relentlessly describing the Gillard government as ‘bad government' for doing so.
"How Prime Minister Abbott comes to terms with the Senate reality will be a critical test of his leadership."