Tony Abbott has slammed Labor’s proposed mining tax in his formal budget reply.

The Opposition Leader promised to return the budget to surplus but was light on details on the Coalition’s economic strategy.

Siobhan Hegarty reports.

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TRANSCRIPT

Siding with big business Mr Abbott fleshed out his objection to the nine billion dollar mining tax.

Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader: “The only way to stop this great big new tax on the people who saved us from the recession is to change the government.”

Instead he proposed to scrap plans for a national broadband network and promised to cut government spending.

Mr Abbott also called for a 25 per cent cut in government advertising and detailed a two-year freeze on public service recruitment, projected to save around $4-billion.

Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader: “For two years 6,000 bureaucrats who will retire or resign each year will not be replaced.”

But his proposal to scrap unfair dismissal laws has made Mr Abbott vulnerable for attack.

Craig Emerson, Consumer Affairs Minister: “He’s saying to the Australian people ‘Listen, you got it wrong, you got it wrong and I’m going to tell you straight work choices is back’.”

Lindsay Tanner, Finance Minister: “This is the most negative, flaky, risky reply budget ever.”

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey will flesh out the Coalition’s budget during his address to the National Press Club next week.

Siobhan Hegarty, QUT News