Tony Abbott says cancer clinic visit not rort

TONY Abbott did not rort the system.

That's the message from the Prime Minister's office after it was reported he told colleagues that he visited a cancer clinic in Melbourne on Monday so taxpayers would foot the bill for a private function the day before.

"Whenever the Prime Minister travels, he maximises his visits by ensuring he participates in community events, business visits and local media," the statement said.

"The Prime Minister is a passionate supporter of medical research and the Government's $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund and he makes no apologies for his visit."

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the Prime Minister should be more concerned about the leaks coming from his Liberal Party colleagues.

"Mr Abbott is going to have to explain what he's done," Mr Shorten said. "A party and a leader that cannot govern itself cannot govern Australia."

Mr Abbott is also hot on the tail of matching Kevin Rudd's record of the most overseas trips by a prime minister in his first year of office.

Mr Abbott, who was so outspoken about Mr Rudd's travel, would have made 11 trips and visited 22 countries by the time the government celebrates its first anniversary next week.

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