Malcolm Turnbull has defiantly announced he’s “out of partisan politics” and refused to get involved in the fallout following the Wentworth by-election, as he broke his silence for the first time following the Liberals’ huge loss.
Appearing on camera hours after he touched down on Australian soil with his wife Lucy following their lengthy break in New York together, the former prime minister insisted he’s “retired” now so won’t be getting involved.
“I’m out of partisan politics and so that is it,” he told reporters in a video posted by Sunrise on Twitter. “I’ll continue to have things to say about important matters of public interest, but I’m not engaged in politics any longer. I’m retired.”
Despite his reluctance to weigh in on the Liberals’ loss, it didn’t stop Turnbull lashing out at former PMs Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott earlier this month, branding them “miserable ghosts” while speaking to young leaders in New York, the Australian and the Australian Associated Press reported at the time.
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.”
It comes after Independent Dr Kerryn Phelps secured the seat of Wentworth after defeating Liberal candidate Dave Sharma in a nail-biting by-election.
Taking home the win with a swing of over 20 per cent, the 60-year-old forced the Morrison government out of it’s majority in Canberra – resulting in a hung parliament.
Taking to the stage at the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club, the independent thanked her supporters in Wentworth for placing their trust in her.
Meanwhile Sharma congratulated Phelps for her win, describing the people of Wentworth as “hard-working”.
“They certainly have some strong views and they’ve shown them tonight,” the ABC report she said. “But I respect them for doing so and they make a great contribution to Australia.”
A hung parliament occurs when no party holds the 76 seats required to form a majority government. As the Liberals have not retained the seat of Wentworth, their number of Coalition representatives in the House of Representatives now equals 75.
This now poses an issue for the government as they try to get bills through the house as they no longer possess the number of votes on their own to pass their own legislation, meaning they will rely on support from other parties to do so.