Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced greater support for small business, unveiling plans for a tax cut from July 1.
In a keynote address to the National Press Club today Mr Abbott promised a “more consultative” Government in 2015.
He also confirmed his “signature” paid parental leave policy is now officially “off the table.”
Mr Abbott defended the Government’s record and made no apologies for tough budget measures.
"Reducing the deficit means that interest rates will stay lower. Reducing the deficit means that taxes can be cut. Reducing the deficit means more confidence in the economy. And reducing the deficit is the fair thing to do because it ends the intergenerational theft against our children and our grandchildren."
"Building a stronger economy is the fairest thing we can do because it means more jobs, higher wages and more government revenue to pay for the services we need," Mr Abbott said.
“During 2015 our priority will be creating more jobs, easing pressure on families, building roads, strengthening national security and promoting more opportunity for all with a new families policy and a new small business and jobs policy."
The prime minister promised a more consultative and collegial cabinet process in 2015, including more meetings of the full ministry and with the backbench.
"It will certainly be the most consultative and the most collegial government this country has ever seen," he added.
Mr Abbott said the government is planning a small business package, with a small business company tax cut – “at least as big as the 1.5percent already flagged” – to take effect from July 1.
Mr Abbott also promised not to change the GST without political consensus – the full support of states and territories and the Federal Opposition.
The federal government had no plans to touch the GST “this term or next,” Mr Abbott said.
The base and the rate of the GST won't change unless it's supported by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and the Labor premiers, he added.
“We are all on a journey to build a better Australia,” he said, declaring he is the best person in the federal coalition to lead the country, saying it is up to voters to hire and fire their leaders.
And no, he hasn't considered resigning in the wake of internal criticism of his leadership and a devastating election result for the coalition in Queensland at the weekend.
And following the outcry from his decision to award Prince Philip a knighthood under the order of Australia, Mr Abbott announced the matter will be taken out of the hands of politicians.
"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.
Mr Abbott admitted the government had experienced a "rough couple of months".
"When things are difficult the last thing you want to do is make the difficulties worse."
Mr Abbott used the speech to dump his signature paid parental leave scheme in favour of a “better” childcare and families package.
The new package will make childcare more affordable and take some of the pressure off the family budget, Mr Abbott said.
Mr Abbott says he hopes that the coming year "will see a more honest national conversation between all of us with Austalia's best interests at heart".
"Everyone who wants members of Parliament to lift their game has an interest in governments taking more responsibility for the services they provide instead of passing the buck."
Mr Innes Willox, Chief Executive, Australian Industry Group said the decision to defer the proposed business-levy funded Paid Parental Leave scheme was a triumph of common sense.
“It is critical that the Government also clarifies that the additional levy on larger businesses will also be scrapped, he said. “This would allow the much-needed boost to investment, competitiveness and employment creation of the upcoming reduction in the company tax rate to be fully realised.”