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Parliament resumes on 2nd anniversary of the Abbott Government -

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ELEANOR HALL: In Canberra, MPs are marking the two year anniversary of the Abbott Government.

The Prime Minister says that, despite persistent poor polling, which has his Government in an election losing position, voters will reward the Coalition for "sticking to its plan" to repeal taxes, boost free trade, and support small businesses.

Labor says Tony Abbott has delivered two years of failure and broken promises.

In Canberra, Naomi Woodley reports.

NAOMI WOODLEY: The independent Senator from South Australia, Nick Xenophon, has built his political career on, often silly, visual stunts, and this morning he had something special prepared for the Government's two year anniversary.

NICK XENOPHON: Well, good morning.

It's the second anniversary of the Abbott Government, and I thought I'd bake them a cake, a submarine cake, to remind them of their broken promise not to build the submarines here in Australia.

They have yet to fulfil that promise. It's an unfulfilled promise and it's just a friendly reminder to the Abbott Government that they better deliver on the subs.

Now I know the cake looks a bit amateurish; some would say that might be a metaphor for the Abbott Government, but I'm just doing my best here.

NAOMI WOODLEY: Senator Xenophon might cultivate a reputation as a joker, but his consistent popularity in South Australia, and his decision to form a political party to field Lower House candidates at the next election, is presenting a lot of headaches for the Federal Government.

NICK XENOPHON: Without a doubt, this will cost, this will cost the Government seats. Not just in South Australia, but in other states.

NAOMI WOODLEY: The Coalition's unpopularity in South Australia and Victoria is a significant factor in its inability to close the gap on the Opposition in national polling. Today's Newspoll in the Australian newspaper has Labor leading the two party preferred vote 54-46.

That's been the result in the past three surveys.

The Prime Minister chose to digest those results in the Canberra suburb of Piallago, where he was celebrating his Government's anniversary with a key constituency.

TONY ABBOTT: I can't think of a better way to mark the second anniversary of this Government by having a breakfast such as this with small business people. That's always been our plan, to be open for business.

The plan is working and we're sticking with it.

NAOMI WOODLEY: Tony Abbott points to his Government's repeal of the carbon and mining taxes, the tax breaks for small business in this year's budget, and its focus on free trade agreements as evidence of the Coalition's economic plan.

But he was pressed on whether that is really resonating with voters.

TONY ABBOTT: Look, come polling day, I am very confident that people will be choosing between a Government which has delivered on its commitments and an Opposition which hasn't learned and can't change.

So I'm very confident that, come polling day, people will acknowledge the free trade agreements that we've put in place, the tax reductions that we've put in place, the business boosts that we've put in place, the commitment to get our country moving, which is happening.

NAOMI WOODLEY: For its part the Opposition questions the plan by pointing to the higher unemployment rate, and sluggish economic growth.

It's sent out dozens of "anniversary" press releases, criticising the Government for breaking pre-election promises, and that theme is likely to continue in Parliament today.

The Opposition's transport spokesman, Anthony Albanese, and the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary, Matt Thistlethwaite gave a preview as they entered parliament this morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Two years on, there aren't any bulldozers; there aren't any cranes in the sky. It's just bull dust - that promise of the Prime Minister.

MATT THISTLETHWAITE: We've seen two years of broken promises, of chaos and dysfunction and lack of vision for Australia. It's two years since Tony Abbott promised no cuts to health, no cuts to education, no cuts to the ABC or SBS and no changes to pensions.

He then went about in his first year of obliterating those promises.

NAOMI WOODLEY: Criticism from Labor and the Greens isn't unexpected, but the Government may be more troubled by the appearance of the conservative radio host, 2GB's Alan Jones, in an advertisement criticising planned changes to environmental laws.

Alan Jones is fronting the campaign against the Government's plan to make it harder to challenge major mining projects in court.

ALAN JONES: So what does this proposed change mean? Well if pushed through, only people who are directly affected by development will be allowed to challenge the approval.

So what about the Great Barrier Reef? Well, unless the Great Barrier Reef happens to be in your backyard, you won't have any legal grounds to oppose irresponsible actions of some mining companies.

This legislative restriction is divisive, it isolates us; it means we're not allowed to care.

NAOMI WOODLEY: The advertisement is from the "Lock the Gate" alliance, which campaigns against coal and gas mining on farming land.

ELEANOR HALL: Naomi Woodley reporting.