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Tony Abbott says he was not lobbied on government grants by head of institute that gave daughter a scholarship

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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 said he wasn't lobbied to allow private colleges access to government subsidies by the head of the college where his daughter gained a scholarship.

Mr Abbott was again questioned on Friday about the $60,000 scholarship from the Whitehouse Institute of Design awarded to his daughter Frances.

Institute chairman Les Taylor has made donations to the NSW Liberal Party and has known Mr Abbott for many years. He has also given Mr Abbott, when he was opposition leader, clothing on two occasions which have been declared on the members' interest register.

However, an institute scholarship worth up to $60,000 given to one of Mr Abbott's daughters, Frances, has not been declared on the register.

The federal budget has introduced direct financial grants for students taking courses in private colleges and TAFEs.

Mr Abbott has previously declared other matters relating to his children, such as trips, accommodation and tickets to sporting events, on the public register.

Mr Abbott said questions about his daughter's scholarship was ''a bit of dirt digging'' and that she had earned it on merit.

''I think families should be left out of it,'' he told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

Asked whether he was personally lobbied by Mr Taylor for private college subsidies, Mr Abbott said: ''No, I wasn't.''

Mr Abbott said he had complied with the parliament's disclosure rules.

The Whitehouse Institute is a member of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training, which before the budget lobbied the government for extending commonwealth supported places beyond public universities.

AAP

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