Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott Rob Williams

Tony Abbott ducks questions on broken promises

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has ducked questions on breaking promises in a phone interview with a Brisbane radio station this morning.

He said in the face of disastrous new poll results for the government and his leadership personally, "it was always better to be popular than unpopular".

"We didn't construct (the budget) for political convenience of the government," he said.

"We did this for our nation.

"We did not create this problem but we're taking responsibility for fixing it."

As the government faces criticism on breaking promises, after Mr Abbott's long-running attacks on the former Labor government for the same, the Prime Minister said the four major promises made ahead of the 2013 election were being honoured.

These were to stop asylum seeker boats, build roads, dump the carbon tax and improve the nation's budget.

"All four of those are happening," Mr Abbott said.

On his promise not to introduce new taxes, he said the debt tax on high-income earners and increase to fuel prices were both necessary.

Mr Abbott will this morning be stuck on a plane with Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, who yesterday told reporters that voters should call their Federal MPs to raise concerns about cuts to state government budgets, estimated to top $80 billion from 2016.

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Bill Shorten now our preferred PM after horror budget

BILL Shorten has surged to an 11 point lead in the preferred Prime Minister stakes after Tony Abbott's budget was condemned as the harshest and most unpopular budget in two decades.

Fairfax reports that Australians have passed severe judgment on the Abbott-Joe Hockey formula, branding it unfair, bad for the country and based on broken promises.

The harsh verdict has propelled the ALP to a massive 12 percentage point lead at 56/44 (based on preference flows at the last election), according to the monthly Fairfax-Nielsen nationwide phone poll taken from Thursday to Saturday last week.

It has also catapulted Labor leader Bill Shorten to an 11 point advantage as preferred prime minister, 51 per cent to 40 - his first lead of any kind over Mr Abbott.

The latest Newspoll published in The Australian shows almost seven in 10 respondents think they will be worse off under the measures announced by Mr Hockey.

Those with households earning between $50,000 and $90,000 were the most pessimistic.

About four in 10 thought the budget was for the good of the country.

The survey shows the Coalition's primary vote has fallen two points to 36 per cent, while Labor's primary vote has rise four point to 38 per cent.

The Greens dropped three points to 11 per cent.