Budget 2014: PM Tony Abbott Courts Senators Individually to Ensure Approval of Budget, But Ricky Muir Thumbs Down Meeting

By @ibtimesau on
Tony Abbott
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) talks to a guest during a lunch meeting in Shanghai April 11, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

With the threat from the Opposition to block the proposed budget for 2014-15, Prime Minister Tony Abbott had reached out to incoming crossbench senators to assure more support for the document.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that he had met two, is scheduled to meet one, but finds it difficult to set a meeting with the senator from the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party.

Mr Abbott met Democratic Labour Party Senator John Madigan on Thursday. Family First Senator-elect Bob Day on Wednesday and will meet New South Wales Senator-elect David Leyonhjelm on Friday.

However, Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party Senator-elect Ricky Muir has not agreed to a meeting because of his busy schedule. Muir, 32, is a father of five and has a full-time job, so he could pay his mortgage and feed his family, until end of June.

"He just can't take time off at the whim of the Prime Minister," Keith Littler, founder of the Motoring Enthusiast Party told SMH.

Muir is paid $500 a week as a timber process worker, but by July 1, he would be upgraded to a $190,000 annual pay as senator.

Littler added, "Mr Abbott has to understand there's a whole other world out there where people have to work for a living." He also hinted that the party had requested the PM for resources which was declined, "yet the PM expects everyone to be at his beck and call," Littler said.

But meeting with the PM does not guarantee the incoming senators would vote for the controversy-laden budget. Madigan disclosed that he told Mr Abbott about his concerns over the budget, particularly those that relate to health, education and jobs.

In turn, Leyonhjelm has said he is against any new taxes, which includes the deficit tax.

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However, Mr Abbott admits the most unpopular content of the budget is the $7 co-payment to the GP and describes it as "perhaps the most difficult policy change in his budget."

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