2 Feb 2015

Tony Abbott defends record

8:08 pm on 2 February 2015

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has defended his Government's record, dumped the paid parental leave scheme and warned against his party's infighting in a speech today.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks at The National Press Club in Canberra.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks at The National Press Club in Canberra. Photo: AAP

In his first formal address at the National Press Club since winning the election 16 months ago, Mr Abbott dumped his signature paid parental leave policy and removed himself from the process of selecting knights and dames under the Order of Australia.

He also indicated households would be protected from further budget pain in the Government's next budget in May, when a new "families" policy would also be announced.

As well, small businesses would receive a tax cut of at least 1.5 per cent from July 1, as the Government pursued a broader look at the taxation system through a white paper process.

Mr Abbott has been battling criticism - both internal and external - which peaked last week in the wake of his announcement that Prince Philip would be awarded a knighthood under the Order of Australia.

Mr Abbott conceded he "probably overdid it" and announced future decisions would be made by the same council which awarded other honours in Australia.

"I just want to make it clear that all awards in the Order of Australia will henceforth be entirely a matter for the Order of Australia Council," he said.

"I accept that I probably overdid it on awards and that's why as of today I make it crystal clear that all awards in the Order of Australia will be wholly and solely the province of the Council of the Order of Australia. I have listened, I have learned, I have acted, and those particular captain's picks which people have found difficult have been reversed."

The National Press Club address in Canberra is seen as a bid to shore up his leadership and reset the Government's agenda, as the Coalition grapples with a crushing loss in the Queensland election and poor polling for the Prime Minister.

When asked whether he had considered resigning to make way for a new prime minister, Mr Abbott responded "no".

"It's the people that hire and frankly it's the people that should fire," he said.

- ABC