The carbon tax back-flip fuelled Tony Abbott’s right of reply to the federal Budget.

He says Labor’s Budget shows a government out of touch with every day Australians.

Sarah McVeigh reports.


The opposition leader took the floor determined to flex his credentials as a tough-love leader for Australia.

Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader: “We ended the waste, repaid the debt and stopped the boats. That wasn’t a slogan, it was a fact.”

Lending from his Liberal forebearer Sir Robert Menzies, Mr Abbott spoke of the “forgotten families” of middle Australia, citing the rising cost of living as the biggest issue for everyday Australians.

Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader: “Every Australian family instinctively knows the things we want might be more affordable but the things we need are much more expensive.”

He accused the government of political posturing.

Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader: “I call on the government to stop putting the hunt for Green preferences ahead of a fair go for Aboriginal people on their own land.”

And of reneging on promises.

Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader: “The next election won’t just be a referendum on the carbon tax it will be a referendum on governments that betray their people.”

Mr Abbott also said the government is unqualified to keep costs down as household bills had risen significantly since 2007.

Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader: “The only certainty from this budget is further upward pressure on interest rates.”

The Prime Minister was stony faced throughout the address but quickly hit back.

Julia Gillard, Prime Minister: “Very happy to play a pop quiz with you. Oh you know, highest tax in government in Australia’s history. Anybody got the answer?”

It was the Howard government, she said, that included Mr Abbott as a senior minister.

Sarah McVeigh, QUT News.