Malcolm Turnbull has declared fixing the budget as a “fundamental moral challenge” above all other priorities in the new parliament.
MPs and senators will gather in Canberra on Tuesday for the formal start of the 45th parliament, featuring an indigenous welcome and speech by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove.
The prime minister told a joint party room meeting his government’s top priority of repairing the budget – which would be helped by the passing of a $6.5 billion savings bill to be introduced this week – was about more than economics.
“This is a fundamental moral challenge,” he said.
“How long are we prepared as a nation, as a generation, to load more and more debt onto the shoulders of our children and grandchildren?”
The parliament will also be asked to back three industrial relations bills – restoring the building industry watchdog, setting up a new anti-corruption system and protecting emergency services volunteers, which Mr Turnbull described as “major elements of economic reform”.
The opposition will also seek to force the government into setting up a royal commission into the banking sector.
Crossbench senator Nick Xenophon said he was optimistic about the parliamentary term.
“We want it to work for the sake of the country,” he said.
Senator Xenophon, the Greens and Labor will be seeking a Senate inquiry into the census night computer bungle, while within Liberal ranks Cory Bernardi plans to introduce a private bill that changes hate-speech laws in the Racial Discrimination Act.