Leading Libs turn on ‘ selfish’ Abbott
A ONE- TIME ally of Tony Abbott has delivered a stinging rebuke to the former prime minister, accusing him of putting government MPs at risk of losing their seats.
Senior government minister Josh Frydenberg, previously a staunch Abbott supporter, hit out yesterday as the former Liberal leader said he had made a “judgment” call to keep speaking out on conservative issues.
Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce also gave his old boss a clip around the ears, reminding him of the need to negotiate over key budget measures which existed when he was in charge, while Deputy Nationals leader Fiona Nash said it was a shame Mr Abbott was not “putting the country first”.
Mr Frydenberg said Mr Abbott needed to ask himself who was benefiting from his “constant interventions”.
“Is it the party members, who want to see a continuation of the Liberal government? The answer is no,” he said.
“Is it my parliamentary colleagues, who want to see them retain their own seats and the government stay in office? The answer is no.
“Or is it Bill Shorten, the alternative prime minister? He’s the one who’s benefiting most, unfortunately, from Tony Abbott’s constant interventions.”
Mr Frydenberg said that despite his “special status” within the Liberal Party, the former prime minister needed to “focus on Australians and delivering what Malcolm Turnbull has promised”.
Mr Joyce said the Turnbull Government was having more success than the Abbott Government trying to get its budgetary measures passed in the Senate. “I’ll be quite frank, we’ve had a lot more success with this one, and more power to the hand of people such as ( Finance Minister) Mathias Cormann and negotiations he’s been doing in the Senate,” Mr Joyce said.
“And the fact that the Prime Minister has the capacity to negotiate things through the Senate – that’s why we are getting delivery.”
Mr Joyce would not say how long the Coalition government could tolerate Mr Abbott eviscerating his own side. “That’s a question for Tony,” he said.
Ms Nash accused Mr Abbott of being selfish.
“Nobody particularly cares, who I talk to, whether Tony likes Malcolm,” she told Sky News.
“Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition government will continue to put the 24 million people in this country first.
“It’s a shame Tony Abbott doesn’t seem to be doing the same.”
QUESTION TIME: Josh Frydenberg ( left) has questioned why Tony Abbott ( inset) is continuing to speak out on issues affecting the Liberal government.