Joe Hockey
Joe Hockey Lauren Reed

Australians hit the streets over the budget

AS PROTESTS against his first budget caused him to abandon his schedule on Wednesday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has vowed to keep trying to explain the "necessity" of budget cuts.

Mr Abbott and Education Minister Christopher Pyne on Wednesday cancelled their planned visit to Deakin University, citing "safety concerns" as thousands of students protested around the country.

The protests, led by the National Union of Students, were the second time Australians have hit the streets over the budget, after smaller protests for the March in May campaign in some capital cities last weekend.

The demonstrations come as state and local governments, the health and education sector, university students and key Senate crossbenchers, have all voiced concern at the extent of the budget cuts.

But Mr Abbott on 3AW Radio on Wednesday vowed to "do what is necessary to do my job", saying he would continue to "explain it to the Australian people so that they understand its necessity".

He said the budget had aimed to "sort out Labor's debt and deficit disaster", but that complaints about the budget cuts were "rather self-interested" and "to put it mildly, exaggerated".

In an attempt to put voters at ease, Mr Abbott also said that "tax cuts would flow in the not too distant future".

A series of income tax cuts were factored into the budget over the next 10 years, as part of calculations to return the budget to surplus by 2023-24.

But at the time, Treasurer Joe Hockey refused to put either a figure on how much the tax cuts would be, or when Australians could expect them to come.

Mr Abbott told the Melbourne radio station that he would like to be in a position to offer the tax cuts "in our next term", but said he could not guarantee they would actually eventuate.

His comments come as federal politicians prepare to return to Canberra next week for a fortnight of detailed hearings on the government's budget and its potential impact during Senate estimates.


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