Abbott ‘truce’ for Cabinet post
Tony Abbott has offered a truce with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in return for a Cabinet post as indigenous affairs minister.
The extraordinary ultimatum came via one of the former prime minister’s close confidantes, Catherine McGregor, who was speaking with Mr Abbott’s permission.
Ms McGregor said Mr Abbott would be more constrained if he was bound by Cabinet solidarity.
She said Mr Abbott was not going to leave Parliament before Mr Turnbull and his “heavyweight” talent shouldn’t be squandered.
“It’s not a threat to wreck. It’s just that if he is a backbencher, why should he not speak on issues that he is invited to speak on,” she said.
“One thing that was clear from the chat I had with him — he was very frank with me — I believe he would honour any deal to adhere to the norms of Cabinet solidarity.”
She said former Liberal PM John Howard, as the party’s elder statesman, “has the weight and the motivation to get these two men in a room and talk sense to both of them”.
She said Mr Abbott would “love” to be indigenous affairs minister and had the credibility to quell an “insurgency” among conservatives on constitutional indigenous recognition.
Tony Abbott spent time volunteering with Kununurra District High School's Yeehaa Rangers in Kununurra earlier this year.