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January 31 2013, 1:04PM

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says it won't be easy to find savings without a carbon tax, which the coalition has promised to scrap if it wins government.

But an Abbott-led government will make the necessary decisions, such as scrapping Labor's school kids bonus.

"Our first commitment is to repeal the carbon tax," Mr Abbott said in his first public speech of the year.

"The prime minister says that it will never happen but I'm not like her and don't operate by her standards."

Mr Abbott said the upcoming federal election on September 14 would be a referendum on the carbon tax, introduced by the government last year, and on economic management.

But the coalition would not be forced into announcing all its policy detail now.

"The coalition will release our costings after the government releases theirs - after the budget and before polling day," Mr Abbott said.

"It won't be easy to find the savings to fund tax cuts without a carbon tax.

"But we won't shirk the hard decisions, such as being up front with people that the school kids bonus will go - because it's a cash splash with borrowed money that has nothing to do with education."

Mr Abbott reassured voters the coalition would be "constantly developing our policy commitments" between now and polling day.

He outline a range of previously announced commitments, such as cutting business red tape and makin no unexpected changes to superannuation arrangements, but gave no further detail.

"These are commitments that we've already made and that you can trust me to keep," he added.

On the contentious area of workplace relations, Mr Abbott said his policy would address flexibility, militancy and productivity issues in the current Fair Work Act.

"And it will," he said.

However, Mr Abbott said he wasn't anti-union.

"I have never believed that Australian workers are overpaid," he said.

"That's why our workplace policy will ensure that changes have to benefit a business's workers as well as its owners."