Abbott tells party room to "stay on course" with budget sell

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott again rallied the Coalition troops in Canberra as the government's budget sell continues to fail to lift its fortunes.

Mr Abbott told the joint party room meeting on Tuesday to "stay the course" in promoting why the controversial parts of the budget were needed.

But while Coalition MPs continue to try to explain the financial necessity of the budget, especially changes to the indexation of pensions, he said "misinformation" was one of the key issues.

Government MPs remain privately critical of the "selling" of the budget, conceding that Labor's attacks on "cuts" have been more successful than the government's efforts to date.

But Mr Abbott told MPs those attacks and "headlines" in the media were not telling the full story of what the changes were, a point backed by party members.

His call to the troops comes as the government finds itself in the final two sittings weeks before the Senate changes in July and negotiations with six Senate crossbenchers and The Greens will be crucial to pass numerous budget measures.

However, the government did have somewhat of a win on Tuesday, with the debt tax on higher income earners passing the Senate with Labor's help.

While that budget initiative will see high income earner face a temporary income tax rise, the government's overall budget message was undermined by two government Senators.

On Monday, Senator Cory Bernardi spoke out against the levy, on the grounds he did not approve of any tax rises, while Sen Ian Macdonald was critical of it and the paid parental leave scheme, although not vowing to cross the floor on either measure.

Labor again capitalised on the budget uncertainty, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten again asking Mr Abbott why "cuts to pensions" were necessary.

But Mr Abbott continued to say there were no "cuts", instead that pensions would continue to rise, despite the changes to indexation meaning pensions will likely not rise as much as previously forecast over the next four years.

The government will still have a hard time convincing crossbench senators, including Clive Palmer's Palmer United Party members, The Greens and independents, to support each measure, with uncertainty likely to remain over coming weeks.


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