He’s made no secret of his anger after being ousted in the recent leadership spill, but Malcolm Turnbull has now lashed out in one of his most damning speeches yet following the scandal.
The former prime minister branded former PMs Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott “miserable ghosts” and called the recent leadership crisis “crazy” while speaking to young leaders in New York on Friday, the Australian and the Australian Associated Press reports.
Referencing Abbott and Rudd, Turnbull reportedly used them as examples when explaining the importance of not letting hate drive you in politics.
“When you stop being prime minister, that’s it,” he said in a recording, obtained by Nine. “There is no way I’d be hanging around like lipid [an insoluble fat] Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott. Seriously, these people are like, sort of miserable, miserable ghosts.”
He also pointed out that he may have been behind 51 to 49 per cent in the published polls, but he was actually ahead by four points in internal tracking polls.
“For reasons that they’ve not been able to explain, you know, there was an element of the party and of the media that wanted to blow the government up, and they did,” he added in the recording.
“And of course, they didn’t get their guy up, they got ScoMo [Scott Morrison].”
Meanwhile, it comes as Morrison himself appeared on ABC Insiders on Sunday and surprised viewers by admitting he’s confident the government would have won the next election under Turnbull’s leadership.
“As John Howard always said, the leadership of the parliamentary Liberal Party is the gift of the parliamentary party and you respect their decisions and you get on with your job,” he reportedly added when explaining that Liberal MPs were responsible for choosing their leader.
It comes after Turnbull finally broke his silence after explosive reports on Wednesday claimed ABC chairman Justin Milne called for sacked boss Michelle Guthrie to sack chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici because the government hated her.
According to emails leaked to Fairfax and seen by the Sydney Morning Herald, Turnbull made complaints about Alberici’s reporting.
Milne’s comments were contained in an email sent to Guthrie on May 8 and were later circulated to board members in the week before the former Google executive was fired. The chairman was allegedly replying to an email from Guthrie that outlined a complaint from Turnbull about Alberici’s political coverage.
Turnbull later weighed in on the controversy from New York, denying he asked for journalists at the ABC to be fired.
According to Sunrise, he never called for any particular journalist to be fired, but did say he thought the ABC made a number of ongoing mistakes in ABC stories.
“I want to be very clear. I have not complained and I do not complain about sort of left or right bias,” he said. “My concern has been purely about the accuracy and impartiality of news and current affairs reporting on the ABC, that’s the critical thing and I do believe it has deteriorated in recent years which is very regrettable.”
According to The Australian, Turnbull also said everyone is entitled to express their views on the ABC and that ministers, as well as prime ministers, have always done it.
“I want to be very clear that the ABC is independent, the chairman and the board are independent of the government,” he said. “The complaints that have been made have related to the accuracy of news reporting and these are all matters of public record.”