Family First senator Bob Day has offered the government a compromise on welfare measures affecting families and unemployed youth.
He’s also reached out to his fellow crossbenchers, imploring them not to deal themselves out of negotiations.
Legislation on a raft of changes to welfare measures announced in the May budget is scheduled to be debated in the Senate for the first time on Tuesday.
Many of the measures are controversial, including a plan to make young jobseekers wait six months before receiving Newstart payments.
Senator Day, who previously said people shouldn’t be made to wait for the dole, has proposed reducing this to one month.
He’s also suggested changes to government plans to freeze the eligibility threshold for family tax benefit payments and lower the child’s age when payments cease.
Senator Day has written to fellow cross bench senators to propose the compromises.
He’s worried if negotiations stall the government might bypass parliament and enact some measures through regulations.
“We want the crossbenchers to stay involved and have a role and be part of negotiation to maximise the benefits for families in what is a massive, massive budget dilemma for the government,” he told AAP.
The government needs the support of Labor, the Greens or the Palmer United bloc plus two more crossbenchers to pass the legislation.
So far all are opposed.
Senator Day has also raised the prospect of allowing young jobseekers to “opt out” of the Fair Work Act if they can find a job but the employer can’t afford to meet minimum pay and conditions.
He says the government sees that as an “eminently sensible approach”.
“I’m pressuring the government as best I can to consider that option in return for these other suggestions on these changes,” he said.
Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews remains committed to passing the budget measures.
His spokeswoman said he would continue negotiations with Senate crossbenchers but wouldn’t comment publicly on how things were going.