Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the government will prioritise budget measures and tax repeals before paid parental leave.

Legislating paid parental leave will take second place to other government promises, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.

The leave scheme is scheduled to start in mid-2015.

“So there’s quite a lot of time to put legislation in parliament,” Mr Abbott told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Instead the government’s priorities are repealing the carbon and mining taxes and getting its first budget through the parliament.”

Mr Abbott is facing criticism from National and Liberal Party colleagues, including Queensland senator Ian Macdonald, who want to make the leave scheme less generous.

The government may face the prospect of its own senators crossing the floor on the legislation.

The prime minister insists the party can cope with internal critics.

“We are not a Stalinist party – we never have been, we never will be,” Mr Abbott said.