Budget 2014: PM Tony Abbott Insists He Did Not Break Campaign Promise; Labor Now Leads in Polls at 56%
By Vittorio Hernandez | May 19, 2014 3:04 PM EST
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott refused to offer an apology to Indonesia over reports Canberra spied on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Reuters)
Just eight months into office, the situation has now reversed in terms of survey results with the Coalition's voter supporting declining. The latest Fairfax-Nielsen poll said that in the two-party preferred terms, Labor leads with 56 per cent, while the Coalition got only 44 per cent.
Likewise, the PM's personal approval rating plummeted by 21 percentage points after he proposed a federal budget that sought to erase an anticipated $30-billion deficit by massive cuts in spending and imposing a deficit tax.
Mr Abbott still insisted, "But it's the budget Australia needs at this time if we are going to get Labor's debt and deficit disaster under control," still blaming the previous Labor-led government for the looming political disaster the Coalition is headed for as the premiers vowed to inflict maximum political pain on the government, while Aussies held protest rallies over the weekend.
Mr Abbott said the party was elected to power not to make easy decisions but take hard but necessary decisions. He stressed the Coalition's most important pre-election promise was to get the budget back to black and they had informed Aussies that they would have to make some tough decisions.
The PM insists that "There are no cuts to health or education ... The changes are not cuts; they're just a reduced rate of growth in spending."
However, the premiers are saying otherwise, furious at the $80-billion reduction in funding for schools and hospital.
Mr Abbott added, "We never said we would honor the Rudd and Gillard government's pie-in-the-sky promises in the out years."
But New South Wales Premier Mike Baird belied the PM's statement, saying NSW would lose 300 public hospital beds with the proposed federal budget.
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