Eight days to go before the Abbott Government’s first budget and the leaders were again on the defensive.

Treasurer Joe Hockey came under fire over claims lobbyists are “buying” influence within the Liberal Party.

But Mr Abbott hosed down the claims.

Elizabeth Lambert reports.


The Prime Minister stood up for his Treasurer, after Fairfax published what Hockey called an “offensive and repugnant” article.

It claims that businesses and lobbyists are being given the chance by Mr Hockey to buy political power.

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister: “If people have evidence of wrong doing, let it come forward.”

At the same time, leaked confidential correspondance between top mining chiefs reveals their concern that the thirty-eight per cent fuel tax credit may be cut in next week’s budget.

But Mr Hockey was quick to assure the resources and farming sectors there will be no changes to the rebate.

Labor’s not convinced.

Andrew Leigh, Shadow Assistant Treasurer: “The government’s still trying to decide whether or not it’s going to break its promise on the debt tax, whether it’s going to break a promise on a GP tax.”

Reachtell Polls show the public say going ahead with either will break the PM’s promise.

But Mr Abbott says eventually we will thank him for his tough love.

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia: “The voters elected a government to do what is necessary.”

Elizabeth Lambert, QUT News