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New Greens leader to talk budget with PM

Christine Milne is preparing for her first meeting with Prime Minister Julia Gillard since becoming leader of the Greens as a public war of words over a promised budget surplus intensifies.

New Reserve Bank of Australia board member and outgoing Australian Industry Group CEO Heather Ridout has criticised the Greens, saying the party has a "hard-nosed, ideological stance" that threatens investment, jobs and living standards, according to The Australian Financial Review.

Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott also criticised the Greens, according to AFR, saying environmental protection and a healthy economy were not mutually exclusive.

Westacott also rejected Milne’s description of business groups such as the BCA as “last century”.

“It is disappointing to see political leaders seeking to divide and undermine sections of the community when the only way to achieve our shared aspirations for Australia is for us to recognise that we all have a role to play and to get on with working together constructively,” she said.

Milne warned yesterday she would not support cuts to the public service and to research and development, urging an easing off on a Labor promise to bring the 2012-13 budget into surplus.

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