We’ve rounded up all the biggest headlines around this afternoon, so you can catch up on the most important news in just a few minutes.
1. Tony Abbott uses Press Club speech to warn against ‘infighting’; says he has ‘listened and learned’ over unpopular ‘captain’s picks’.
By ABC News
Tony Abbott has used a crucial speech at the National Press Club to reset the budget debate and deliver a veiled message to critics within the Coalition, saying Australians do not deserve “infighting” from the Government.
In his first formal address at the National Press Club since winning the election 16 months ago, the Prime Minister dumped his signature paid parental leave policy and removed himself from the process of selecting knights and dames under the Order of Australia.
He also indicated that households will be protected from further budget pain in the Government’s next budget in May, when a new “families” policy will also be announced.
Small businesses will also receive a tax cut of at least 1.5 per cent from July 1, as the Government pursues a broader look at the taxation system through a white paper process.
Mr Abbott has been battling criticism – both internal and external – which peaked last week in the wake of his announcement that Prince Philip would be awarded a knighthood under the Order of Australia.
Mr Abbott conceded he “probably overdid it” and has announced future decisions will be made by the same council that awards other honours in Australia.
“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.
“I accept that I probably overdid it on awards and that’s why as of today I make it crystal clear that all awards in the Order of Australia will be wholly and solely the province of the Council of the Order of Australia. I have listened, I have learned, I have acted, and those particular captain’s picks which people have found difficult have been reversed.”
The National Press Club address in Canberra is seen as a bid to shore up his leadership and reset the Government’s agenda, as the Coalition grapples with a crushing loss in the Queensland election and poor polling for the Prime Minister.
When asked whether he had considered resigning to make way for a new prime minister, Mr Abbott responded “no”.
“It’s the people that hire and frankly it’s the people that should fire,” he said.
A version of this article originally appeared on ABC News here and has been republished with full permission.
2. Three dead, boy critical in Ourimbah car crash on the NSW Central Coast.
By ABC News
Three people have died and a child has been taken to hospital after a car crash at Ourimbah on the New South Wales central coast.