Shorten’s the en­emy: Fry­den­berg

The Australian - - THE NATION - GREG BROWN

En­ergy Min­is­ter Josh Fry­den­berg has urged Coali­tion MPs to “re­mem­ber who our real op­po­nent is” af­ter deny­ing he had re­grets about ridi­cul­ing Tony Ab­bott for un­der­min­ing Mal­colm Turn­bull.

Mr Fry­den­berg said he stood by his crit­i­cisms of the for­mer prime min­is­ter, de­spite Mr Ab­bott’s for­mer chief of staff Peta Credlin claim­ing the En­ergy Min­is­ter had told her he would re­frain from any com­men­tary in the fu­ture.

He said the gov­ern­ment should unite in an ef­fort to de­feat Bill Shorten. “I will leave pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions to that but I have made it very clear that I stand by those pre­vi­ous words, that I will con­tinue to call it as I see it,” Mr Fry­den­berg told The Daily Tele­graph’s Mi­randa Live pod­cast.

“But as for the Coali­tion’s chances at the next elec­tion, they are en­hanced by our abil­ity to stick to­gether as a team and to re­mem­ber who our real op­po­nent is; it is Bill Shorten.”

Mr Fry­den­berg last week showed dis­may that Mr Ab­bott had ramped up his neg­a­tive com­ments about the Prime Min­is­ter af­ter the gov­ern­ment’s 30th con­sec­u­tive Newspoll loss to La­bor.

“(Mr Ab­bott) is al­ways go­ing to cut across what the Prime Min­is­ter has been say­ing lately,” Mr Fry­den­berg told the Nine Net­work.

Speak­ing on Sky News on Mon­day night, Credlin said Mr Fry­den­berg’s com­ments had “di­min­ished” him in the eyes of con­ser­va­tives. “It cer­tainly wouldn’t have helped him with the base,” Ms Credlin said.

“I think it was lev­ity, I think he thought it was funny, I think af­ter­wards he prob­a­bly re­flected and de­cided it wasn’t funny. I have had a con­ver­sa­tion with him, I’m not go­ing to go into it on air, but I don’t think you will see that again.”

Op­po­si­tion in­fras­truc­ture spokesman An­thony Al­banese said Credlin was at­tempt­ing to dic­tate what cab­i­net min­is­ters should say. “As Josh should, he has called Tony Ab­bott out for be­ing a wrecker be­cause that is the way that he is be­hav­ing,” Mr Al­banese told Sky News.

“What’s ex­tra­or­di­nary was Peta Credlin’s com­ments. I mean, this is a Sky News com­men­ta­tor seek­ing to dic­tate to cab­i­net min­is­ters what they say. I’m not sur­prised that Josh Fry­den­berg has re­jected that.”



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