Liberal MPs have warned Tony Abbott that the unpopularity of some measures in the Budget risks alienating supporters.
As Clive Palmer signed the death warrant on the proposed $7 Medicare co-payment, coalition backbenchers used their first gathering after a five-week winter break to report on voters' growing disdain for the Budget.
One Liberal said a "funk" appeared to have descended on the coalition partyroom over the recess, with the meeting one of the flattest in recent memory.
The mood wasn't helped by disaffected former minister Ian Macdonald chiding the Prime Minister for being more than an hour late for the meeting, although fellow Queenslander Ewen Jones defended Mr Abbott, who had been in Melbourne visiting a cancer centre.
Queensland MPs Andrew Laming and George Christensen said the proposed $7 GP co-payment was deeply unpopular among constituents.
One Liberal said the atmosphere in the room was of disappointment but no one quite knew who to blame.
"My sense is that we thought we would be better than this in Government," the Liberal said.
Mr Abbott sought to encourage his team, saying the Government would methodically and courteously negotiate passage of the Budget, reminding them the Government had passed the carbon repeal and financial advice laws through the new Senate.
He urged unity, saying "we sink or swim together".
The Palmer United Party, which has three senators, formalised its opposition to the $7 charge. Mr Palmer said his party would not accept a co-payment "of even one cent".
But Treasurer Joe Hockey said the $7 charge was needed to make Medicare sustainable, in the same way the Hawke-Keating Labor government had introduced co-payments under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Mr Abbott had no mandate for his Budget.
He noted that before the last election, then opposition leader Mr Abbott "famously said, 'The government has no mandate. There should be no tax collection without an election'.
"Now he is in Government, he believes in taxation without elections."