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Abbott a charmer after Robb snub

TONY Abbott yesterday lavished praise on a furious Andrew Robb after freezing his finance spokesman out of the decision not to oppose the government's planned boost to compulsory superannuation.

TONY Abbott yesterday lavished praise on a furious Andrew Robb after freezing his finance spokesman out of the decision not to oppose the government's planned boost to compulsory superannuation.

The charm offensive came after Mr Robb signalled that he would speak against the increase in the superannuation guarantee from 9 per cent to 12 per cent within the shadow cabinet on the ground that the Coalition and the country cannot afford it.

"I'm determined that as a government the Coalition will live within its means, but I'm simply not going to be drawn into discussions about internal matters," he said.

Ironically, Mr Abbott nominated Mr Robb's fiscal rigour during his address at a roundtable on the future of manufacturing hosted by the Liberal Party think tank, the Menzies Research Centre.

"Above all else, as my friend and colleague Andrew Robb so often says, we will live and govern in accordance with three principles," Mr Abbott told the gathering, which included Mr Robb.

"We will live within our means we will build on our strengths and we will avoid the manifestations of the nanny state which have been so obvious from this government."

Mr Robb remains angry that he was excluded from a phone hook-up of senior figures on Friday that decided to walk away from the plan to rescind the super boost, which the government has linked to the passage of its mining resources rent tax.

Liberal insiders insist there was no conspiracy or snub and that the normal practice of the leadership group and the spokesman directly concerned in a decision in this case superannuation spokesman Mathias Cormann had been followed.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Abbott defended the decision, which will reduce government revenue by $740 million over the forward estimates because money contributed to super is taxed at a much lower rate than income.

"What we are proposing to do is entirely consistent with the policy of the Coalition over the last decade," he told reporters. "We don't initiate these superannuation changes, but once they're in place we don't roll them back."


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