Abbott distances himself from threat of higher taxes

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott was out talking up the Federal Government's unpopular budget yesterday morning as his colleagues gathered for the first sitting of parliament following a five-week break.

Mr Abbott, Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann used the break to canvas crossbench support for the obvious stumbling blocks including the GP co-payment and university de-regulation but it may come to nought, as by all accounts, the independent Senators and those from the Palmer United Party who hold the balance of power, seem unimpressed.

Still, the prime minister pressed on at the Peter Mac Cancer Centre in Melbourne yesterday saying it was a budget "of living within our means".

He tap-danced around the threat of added taxes, touted by Mr Cormann this week as a consequence of not getting $40 billion of money-saving cuts through.

"We don't support raising taxes; we support cutting taxes," he said.

"We will get the budget back under control, but the way to get the budget back under control is by sensible savings so that we can get taxes down."

Last night the Senate was scheduled to consider legislation that increases the co-payment on taxpayer-funded prescription medicines, the first test of support for other health changes, especially the proposed $7 Medicare co-payment.