Abbott tells backbenchers to stand firm on budget

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has told Coalition backbenchers to stand firm on the government's first budget, despite nervousness about the growing fallout in the ranks.

Mr Abbott told a Coalition party room meeting in Canberra on Tuesday the government would continue to explain the need for budget cuts.

He also reportedly ruled out a major advertising blitz to do just that, instead urging MPs to tell their electorates in person what the impacts could be and why cuts were needed.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann had earlier told reporters the government would sell the budget "in the usual way", but did not specifically mention an advertising campaign.

But the government lost support for another key measure on Tuesday, $2 billion-odd savings in parenting payments, with Labor ruling out backing the measure.

That followed pressure from The Greens on Labor, and has raised the stakes on the government's mission to convince crossbenchers in the Senate to back its $37 billion in savings measures.

Reports on Tuesday indicated of those savings measures which need to be legislated; only $7 billion are likely to get any wider support, and some of those may be at risk.

However, the government's budget was given support from the independent Parliamentary Budget Office, which released analysis showing the government needed to tighten the purse strings as debt continues to rise.

Labor Leader Bill Shorten also told the Labor caucus on Tuesday that voters were "white-hot angry" about the budget, urging MPs to continue to prosecute the case against it.

In Question Time, Mr Shorten asked Mr Abbott to explain reports of the now-unlikely advertising blitz, but Mr Abbott said he should stop asking questions about "something that isn't happening".


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