The Abbott government stands accused of breaking its election promises to quarantine the ABC from cuts and keep the age pension unchanged.
As the coalition prepares to deliver its first budget next month, speculation about where it will find savings focused on the pension and the public broadcaster on Sunday.
Treasurer Joe Hockey gave the government’s strongest signal yet that it will consider raising the pension age to 70 as it grapples with a ballooning welfare purse and an ageing population.
“It may be the case that my generation has to work for an extra three years,” Mr Hockey said on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull refused to rule out media reports the ABC’s budget is set to be trimmed come May 13.
“You don’t have long to wait – let’s just wait for budget night,” he said.
While he wouldn’t comment on the budget, Mr Turnbull said any business – including the ABC – could “obviously” be run more efficiently.
Labor and the Australian Greens used the budget speculation as ammunition to accuse Prime Minister Tony Abbott of breaking his election vows to steer clear of cuts to the ABC and multicultural broadcaster SBS, and changing the age pension.
Opposition finance spokesman Tony Burke suggested Mr Abbott would face the same heat he put on former prime minister Julia Gillard for breaking a pre-election promise ruling out a carbon tax.
“Brace yourself for the broken promises,” he told Sky News.
Greens leader Christine Milne accused Mr Abbott of breaching the public’s trust when he swore to lead a “government of no surprises”.
“He’s not only a government full of surprises, but he’s breaking promises left, right and centre,” she said.
Mr Hockey has called for a sensible discussion about funding Australians’ future quality of life ahead of the budget.