It’s no secret that there is no love lost between Tony Abbott and his successor Malcolm Turnbull, but the member for Warringah took a fresh swipe at the outgoing PM on Tuesday 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 will trigger 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,” the former prime minister said. “He certainly wouldn’t be the first prime minister to do that. Paul Keating didn’t hang around, Bob Hawke didn’t hang around.”
Abbott’s comments follow those made by Turnbull last week when, during his outgoing press conference outside of Parliament House, he 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 following the successful spill.
“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.”
Abbott’s comments are likely to come as no surprise to Turnbull as the former Aussie leader has ruffled plenty of feathers in recent weeks, particularly to his alleged involvement in the challenge for leadership launched by Peter Dutton, who ultimately lost out on the Lodge to former Treasurer ScoMo.
Just days ago, former prime minister Kevin Rudd launched an extraordinary verbal attack on Abbott, claiming he has wrecked Australian politics by focusing more on destroying his opponents than introducing new and effective policies.
Recalling Abbott’s time in power, Rudd claimed that his former political rival, 60, had helped contribute to the “vicious, toxic and unstable” state of politics today, eventually leading to the controversial leadership spill last week.
“Abbott has never cared about policy. He has only cared about politics and winning at any cost. I cannot remember a single positive policy initiative that Abbott has championed and then implemented,” he wrote for the news outlet.
“The entire energy of this giant wrecking ball of Australian policies has been focused on destroying his opponents within the Labor party and the Liberal party.”
Claiming Abbott had proven destructive in the past, Rudd went on to warn Aussies not to underestimate his negativity and toxicity.