Australia’s conservative Liberal-National opposition leader Tony Abbott has said it will not be easy to find savings without a carbon price, which he has promised to scrap if his coalition wins government.
However, Mr Abbott said such a government would make the necessary decisions, such as scrapping Labor’s school children’s bonus.
“The prime minister says that it will never happen but I’m not like her and don’t operate by her standards.”
Mr Abbott said the coming federal election on September 14 would be a referendum on the carbon price, introduced by the government last year, and on economic management.
However, he said the coalition would not be forced into announcing all its policy detail now.
“The coalition will release our costings after the government releases its, after the budget and before polling day,” Mr Abbott said.
“But we won’t shirk the hard decisions, such as being up front with people that the school kids bonus will go, because it’s a cash splash with borrowed money that has nothing to do with education.”
Mr Abbott reassured voters the coalition would be “constantly developing our policy commitments” between now and polling day.
He outline a range of previously announced commitments, such as cutting business red tape and making no unexpected changes to superannuation arrangements, but gave no further detail.
On the contentious area of workplace relations, Mr Abbott said his policy would address flexibility, militancy and productivity issues in the current Fair Work Act.
However, Mr Abbott said he wasn’t anti-union.
“I have never believed that Australian workers are overpaid,” he said.
“That’s why our workplace policy will ensure that changes have to benefit a business’s workers as well as its owners.”
He also said Labor was attacking the middle class when it set its sights on family tax benefits and private health insurance rebates.
The Liberal leader also restated his support for Labor’s National Disability Insurance Scheme and its plans for more support for schools.
“That’s why the party you can trust to deliver better services is the one you can trust to deliver a stronger economy and a sustainable surplus.”
Mr Abbott did not recommit the coalition to delivering a budget surplus in its first term of government.
However, Mr Abbott argued a coalition government would keep spending in check “because we’re not beholden to the Australian Gree