Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has labelled Tony Abbott a “right-wing character” during an event in New York.
Jetting overseas with wife Lucy less than two weeks after being ousted from the top position, the 63-year-old has attempted to retreat from the public eye in his luxury apartment in the Upper-West side, until now.
First speaking about Julia Gillard, the former Liberal leader said while he admired the 27th prime minister, she was strong in her belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman, the ABC reports.
Next describing Tony Abbott, Turnbull said: “Any my predecessor and opponent in the Liberal Party, Tony Abbott – who’s sort of a right-wing character, to say the least – he had the same view.”
He then added: “And I was to say they were both wrong, but at least he was sincerely wrong.”
His comments follow those made by Abbott last month where he took a swipe at Turnbull over his decision to stand down from parliament after losing the top job to Scott Morrison.
Speaking to radio station 6PR in Perth, Abbott made a less than subtle dig at Turnbull’s decision to resign from parliament, which has triggered a by-election in his seat of Wenthworth, eastern Sydney.
“I always suspected that the instant he didn’t have the top job he’d want to go,” Abbott exclaimed. “He certainly wouldn’t be the first prime minister to do that. Paul Keating didn’t hang around, Bob Hawke didn’t hang around.”
It’s no secret that there is no love lost between the two who have been entangled in a back and forth argument since the leadership spill.
During his outgoing press conference outside of Parliament House, Turnbull made a blatant reference to Abbott, who he replaced as leader of the Liberal party, and prime minister in 2015, when asked if he would remain in parliament.
“No I made it very clear that I believe former prime ministers are best out of the parliament ,” he said. “I don’t think there’s much evidence to suggest that that conclusion isn’t correct.”