Rudd camp tips toughness on Greens

THE relationship between a Rudd government and the Greens would likely be less formal and more limited than Julia Gillard's alliance with them, pro-Rudd sources say.

As the win in the Melbourne byelection has strengthened those within Labor urging distance from the Greens, the question of how Kevin Rudd as PM would handle the government's alliance partner has become more pertinent. Mr Rudd is known to have a tough-minded attitude to the Greens.

Greens acting leader Adam Bandt said at the weekend the Greens post-election agreement was with Ms Gillard and was for the Parliament to run full term with her as PM.

A number of Labor figures believe in retrospect that the PM's deal with the Greens went unnecessarily far.

Rudd supporter Joel Fitzgibbon tweeted yesterday that after the Melbourne result, ''I bet no one is any longer saying attacks on Greens hurt the Labor campaign given the late surge!''

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said it had come through anecdotally from the byelection ''that a lot of people are disappointed that the Greens are taking such an ideological position in trying to deal with the evils of people smuggling''.

Asked if Labor should preference the Greens last, Mr Shorten told the ABC that the first question was to have the best policy.

Pressed about Mr Fitzgibbon's comment last week that leaders who remained unpopular would eventually stop leading, Mr Shorten said that people wanted politicians ''to think long-term not short-term''. Labor needed to sell its message better ''but I don't hold the Prime Minister responsible for that''.

He said there ''is an over-fascination with the short-term news cycle''. Ultimately it was ideas that won the day, not just popularity polls week-in week-out. Mr Shorten, who has flagged he is still backing Ms Gillard, said his relationship with Mr Rudd was ''positive and professional''.

Meanwhile, the Greens have released polling to back their refusal to support the government's attempt to implement its Malaysia people swap. In the Galaxy poll of 400, commissioned by the Greens in Mr Bandt's federal electorate of Melbourne the weekend before last, people were asked whether the Greens should vote with Labor to allow the Malaysia deal or work with Labor to find a different solution.

Fifteen per cent said they should vote with Labor while 78 per cent favoured their seeking a different solution.

The Greens want a regional agreement, but support only onshore processing in the absence of that.

Asked which option would make refugees less likely to risk their lives on boats, 13 per cent said sending people to Malaysia, 16 per cent said sending them to Nauru, and 58 per cent said processing them in camps in the region before resettling them in Australia.

''People in Melbourne do not want the Greens to vote for the government's Malaysia people swap policy and want parliamentarians to work on a different solution,'' Mr Bandt said.

Two more boats arrived yesterday, with 123 passengers and 36 people on board respectively.

Michelle Grattan reports from Canberra.

Michelle Grattan reports from Canberra.