Prime Minister Tony Abbott says people might feel dismayed, disappointed and even surprised at the government’s performance.
But would he consider stepping aside if it continued to trail Labor ahead of the next election in 2016?
Mr Abbott said on Thursday night that was a fair question but a fundamental lesson from the former Labor government was that you don’t lightly change leaders.
“Governments that change their leaders haven’t done very well lately,” he told ABC television.
Mr Abbott said much had happened in 12-14 months and circumstances did change, with Labor’s promised $18 billion deficit actually coming in at $48 billion.
“People, sure, may well feel dismayed, disappointed, occasionally even surprised. But I think that they also understand that governments have to respond to the circumstances that they find themselves,” he said.
Mr Abbott said the government had kept faith with the Australian people because it had fundamentally honoured core commitments to stop the boats, repeal the carbon tax, build the roads and start the job of budget repair.
He said there had been a lot of unjustified cries that he had broken his promises.
On ABC funding cuts, he said plainly he did say the night before the election there would be no cuts to the national broadcaster.
“We flagged a very urgent task of budget repair,” he said.
“It’s interesting that in the run-up to the budget, the messages we were getting back from our constituents and, yes, from Liberal Party polling, was people were frightened we would squib it,” he said.
Mr Abbott said he was saying to the Australian people there was a need to adjust to changed circumstances and the government was deadly serious about returning the budget to surplus.
“If you are trying to get from point A to point B and one way is blocked you find another way. You don’t abandon your objective,” he said.
Mr Abbott said he would not flag potential compromises to get stalled budget measures through the Senate.
“That’s going to be a matter for discussion and negotiation with the crossbench,” he said.
“There will be further things to be announced by this government. We will be governing right up until Christmas Eve.”