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The two Centre Alliance senators, Stirling Griff and Rex Patrick will often be pivotal to the fate of government legislation. The smaller non-Green Senate crossbench this term means that if the government can muster Centre Alliance support, it only needs one other crossbencher to pass bills, as was the case with the government’s tax package.

In this podcast Michelle Grattan talks with Stirling Griff about the party’s position on a range of issues - including the widespread pressure for an increase in Newstart.

Griff says Centre Alliance is willing to use its bargaining muscle to try to get the government to raise the payment. "We’ll exert as much pressure as we possibly can to, at the very least, have a minor increase from where [Newstart] is now."

Centre Alliance has struck up a consultative relationship with Tasmanian independent Jacqui Lambie. “Ahead of a sitting week, or a sitting fortnight, we share our thoughts on which way each of us intends to vote and if we can arrive at a common position we will do so.”

Meanwhile, Senate leader Mathias Cormann remains apparently well-placed to wrangle the cross-bench. “[Cormann] is held in very high regard by pretty much everyone in the chamber. Certainly, we have a very good relationship with him.”

Additional audio: 

A List of Ways to Die, Lee Rosevere, from Free Music Archive.

Image: 

AAP/Sam Mooy

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