The federal opposition says the Liberals lied not just to the Australian people but to their own coalition partner about the budget.
The Liberals allegedly created speculation about cutting the diesel fuel rebate – a proposal strongly opposed by farmers and the mining industry – as a way of getting their support for the “less worse” measure of re-linking the fuel excise to inflation.
Senior Liberals have denied the ABC report, with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann saying there was ‘absolutely no truth’ to the story and deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop claiming ‘we’re a very close coalition’.
Deputy Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce said he trusted his Liberal colleagues, after discussing the claims with senior cabinet ministers such as Senator Cormann and Treasurer Joe Hockey.
‘The whole thing is a load of rubbish,’ he told reporters in Canberra.
But Labor frontbencher Tony Burke seized on the report, saying the National Party were lied to over the budget “just like the Australian people were”.
‘And where do we end up? We end up with a situation when every time people fill their tank with petrol it’s going to be higher and higher prices,’ he told Sky News.