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Get set for plenty of budget pain, Tony Abbott tells Australians

Waiting for the waves: Prime Minister Tony Abbott surfs at North Steyne. He says the budget will be a showcase for Australia with world leaders in November.

Waiting for the waves: Prime Minister Tony Abbott surfs at North Steyne. He says the budget will be a showcase for Australia with world leaders in November. Photo: Nick Moir

Tony Abbott has warned people to prepare for pain with a purpose in a budget in May he says will give Australia more authority when world leaders gather in Brisbane in November.

''I don't want people to think that it's all doom and gloom because there's a purpose to all of this, and the purpose is to strengthen our economy over the medium and the long term, but inevitably in this budget there will be things that people won't like much,'' he said.

While many cuts, like the ending of the baby bonus, had been foreshadowed, Mr Abbott said that decisions would be unpopular. ''It's one thing to be straight with people about it; it's another for them to be happy when all of these things actually happen.''

His comments came after a senior minister told Fairfax Media: ''What we've decided as a cabinet is that the first year of government is the year to make all of the difficult decisions and establish the platform for the long-term, and many of these might be unpopular.''

Mr Abbott said the G20 leaders meeting in November would be ''the most significant international gathering Australia has ever hosted by miles'' and ''a very important opportunity to showcase Australia''.

''If the world economy is to strengthen, different national economies need to adopt the sort of unshackle-their-peoples'-creativity policies and programs which we are doing our best to implement here in Australia,'' he said.

''I'm very confident that we'll have quite a lot to say by then which won't just be declarations of intent but which will be declarations of performance - this is what we've done.''

While Treasurer Joe Hockey has declared the end of the ''age of entitlement'', Mr Abbott said he did not like the term ''middle class welfare''. While some considered family tax benefit A middle class welfare, Mr Abbott said he preferred to call it ''a tax cut for families with kids''.

''But the trouble is, as things stand on the policy which operated at the time of the election, even with the relatively benign assumptions that the forecasters make, we'll end up with $667 billion worth of debt,'' he said.

''Now, that's a big, big problem so we've got to change direction from fiscal irresponsibility to fiscal responsibility.''

Mr Abbott said he wanted to stay in his home in Forestville for as long as possible, rather than move into the Prime Minister's official residence, Kirribilli House. When in Canberra he will continue to live at the Australian Federal Police College.

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