It’s no secret there’s no love lost between former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his successor Malcolm Turnbull, after the latter replaced him as leader of the Liberal Party following a leadership spill in 2015.
The pair have continued to fire barbs at each other on a regular basis in the years since, with Abbott taking aim at the recently ousted pollie once again in his latest opinion piece for The Australian, published late Sunday night.
Their ongoing feud dates back to 2010, after Abbott successfully challenged the then-Leader of the Opposition for the top party job, going on to win the general election in 2013. Abbott chose to appoint Turnbull as Minister of Communications, however Turnbull did not return the favour in 2015 when he replaced Abbott as PM, and instead banished him to the backbench.
“When Turnbull decided to stay in parliament in 2010, I had him on my frontbench and kept him there in government — along with Julie Bishop, Christopher Pyne and George Brandis,” Abbott wrote. “Turnbull never returned the compliment. His problem was not that he had too many conservatives in his partyroom but that he didn’t have enough of them in his cabinet.”
Abbott, who now holds the position of special envoy on Indigenous affairs, went on to praise current leader Scott Morrison, who replaced Turnbull in August after a chaotic week and two attempted leadership spills in the Liberal partyroom, the later of which was successful.
The Warringah MP said he has faith in ScoMo to hold on to the national leadership at the next election, despite recent poll results showing a slip in support.
“It goes without saying that the next election will be tough,” Abbott said. “But under Morrison, it won’t be internal division that holds us back. We can’t change the self-inflicted wounds of the past five years. But against this, Morrison will have a fierce will to win, unbounded energy, political savvy, and the whole Liberal tribe cheering him on.”
He also praised Morrison for finding a balance between the “broad church” of Liberal party members, referring to the more conservative and moderate members of the party, adding: “All prime ministers face challenges and all make mistakes. Still, Scott Morrison won’t have the problems that I had as PM because no one is stalking him for his job.
“He won’t have the problems Turnbull had as PM because he is a much more tribal Liberal.”