Budget backlash heats up
Under attack: Bill Shorten. Picture: Getty Images

Tony Abbott has branded Opposition Leader Bill Shorten "Australia's whinger-in-chief" as ministers lined up to defend the Prime Minister against continued criticism of the Budget.

Mr Abbott said senior colleagues knew it would be a "big ask" to convince Australians of the Budget's virtue but the alternative was unsustainable.

He said Mr Shorten should at least devise some constructive solutions rather than simply complain about the Government's approach.

"Mr Shorten basically is kind of Australia's whinger-in-chief," he said yesterday.

"He has given himself this new job as the head of the complaints bureau.

"I believe on radio in Victoria this morning he would not even give the Government credit for stopping the boats."

Mr Abbott defended the proposed $7 co-payment on bulk-billed Medicare services, saying it was important to put a price signal into the system, as done with drug prescriptions under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Mr Shorten said the co-payment was a "shabby con job" because it funded medical research that should be funded properly out of consolidated revenue.

"You don't tax the sick and rob the Medicare system," he said.

"You don't solve the challenges of research in the future by robbing poor people, by robbing sick people, by making the whole medical system two-tiered like we see in America."

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said people would eventually accept that the Budget had made the right decisions for the country's future.

In the aftermath of the Budget, US newspaper the Washington Post yesterday described Mr Abbott as "one of the world's most unpopular prime ministers".

But Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the PM had the courage of Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy.

The West Australian

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