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Hockey denies party dissent

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Joe Hockey has shrugged off suggestions of internal party dissent regarding his performance as treasurer.

The impending budget update is expected to be grim after key savings measures like the $7 GP co-payment and university deregulation were blocked by the senate.

Mr Hockey said his colleagues were unhappy about cuts to their departments, but it was “part and parcel” of being treasurer.

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“When you have conversations with your colleagues about asking them to live within their means, in their portfolios, some of them don’t like it,” Mr Hockey said on Sunrise on Friday.

Senior Coalition MPs have allegedly questioned Mr Hockey’s performance and have floated the idea of Malcolm Turnbull replacing him as treasurer, according to a Daily Telegraph report.

Despite allegations of internal splintering, Prime Minister Tony Abbott backed Mr Hockey, saying he was one of Australia’s greatest treasurers during an interview on 7.30 on Thursday.

“Joe Hockey has been criticised lately, but I tell you what … he is someone who bounces back, and that is what he is doing now,” Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott didn’t rule out a reshuffling of his front bench before the next election, saying ministerial changes were “quite probable”.

– with AAP

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