Minister slams Abbott's 'constant interventions'

SBS World News Radio: Turnbull Government minister Josh Frydenberg has delivered a stinging criticism of Tony Abbott, accusing the former prime minister of helping Bill Shorten get elected.

Minister slams Abbott's 'constant interventions'

Minister slams Abbott's 'constant interventions' Source: SBS

A new recording of Mr Abbott speaking at a Liberal Party function has surfaced, in which the one-time leader says he's just sticking up for disenfranchised members of the party.

It's been almost a fortnight since a recording of Christopher Pyne was leaked, sparking a drawn out bout of infighting in the Turnbull Government.

Since then, former prime minister Tony Abbott has given regular radio interviews and speeches, criticising the government's direction and calling for a more conservative approach.

Now, it seems Energy and Environment minister Josh Frydenberg has had enough.

He's told ABC Radio the commentary from his former boss is doing more to help the Labor Party than his Liberal colleagues.

"Who is most encouraged by those comments? Is it the party members who want to see a continuation of the Liberal government? The answer is no. Is it my parliamentary colleagues who want to see them retain their own seats and the government stay in office? The answer is no. Is it the Australian people, who want to see a government talk about how we're boosting funding for education and health, infrastructure, and people with disabilities, as well as protecting their national security? The answer is no. Or is it Bill Shorten, the alternative prime minister? He's the one who is benefiting most, unfortunately, from Tony Abbott's constant interventions."

On Tuesday night, Mr Abbott addressed a Liberal Party meeting in his Sydney seat of Warringah.

The former prime minister told the crowd of around 150 constituents that he was standing up for disenfranchised conservative voters, but conceded that there are divisions in his party.

"There is, it's no secret at the moment, a bit of a division inside the ranks of those who have regarded themselves as Liberals. There are some who think that we support Liberal governments and Liberal leaders, come what may. And there are others who think this is a Liberal government which is starting to do some things which are not really in the Liberal DNA."

He named tax increases in the 2017 Budget and recent changes to superannuation as policies that are dividing Liberal voters.

Labor, meanwhile, is seizing on the division.

Deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek says the conflict between Liberal conservatives and moderates runs deeper than simply Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.

"The Lord Voldemort of the Liberal Party is not the only problem that the Prime Minister has. Of course, he's got Tony Abbott out there providing an alternate program for government. He's got Tony Abbott touring the country, speaking at Liberal Party meetings and fundraisers against the prime ministership of Malcolm Turnbull. But it is not just him - you have backbenchers and even ministers inviting people like Peta Credlin, like Cory Bernardi, who are critics of Malcolm Turnbull, to present to Liberal Party branches."



3 min read
Published 6 July 2017 at 6:00pm
By James Elton-Pym
Source: SBS