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Tony Abbott defends daughter's scholarship

Tony Abbott says his daughter Frances was awarded her $60,000 scholarship on merit, and was not based on her father's connections. Nine News.

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott has defended his daughter's scholarship from a design college chaired by a Liberal Party donor and friend.

Frances Abbott's scholarship at the Whitehouse Institute of Design has not been declared on her father's pecuniary interest register, even though he has declared other matters relating to his children such as trips, accommodation and tickets to sporting events.

Frances Abbott.

Frances Abbott. Photo: Joe Armao

MPs are required to disclose gifts above specified threshold limits, with extra requirements for ministers where a gift is retained.

But there is no rule about scholarships for MPs' children.

The institute is chaired by Les Taylor, a long-time donor to the Liberals, who gave Mr Abbott gifts of clothing in February 2012 and April 2013, which were recorded in his pecuniary interest register.

Frances was awarded a scholarship there in 2011 based on her application and art portfolio.

Mr Abbott told Fairfax radio on Thursday his daughter got it on her academic potential. ''She kept it on her academic merit, she is a distinction student,'' he said.

The college was so pleased with Frances' performance it offered her a place in its initial master's course, he said.

Mr Abbott did not believe the matter warranted media interest.

''Family should be left out of this,'' he said.

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said if Mr Abbott received alternative advice on declaring the scholarship he would ''meet the amended requirements''.