Malcolm Turnbull

'He’s a narcissist', former Howard Minister Vanstone slams Tony Abbott

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Amanda Vanstone branded the former prime minister as a narcissist 'from the minute he was born'.

In an appearance on 'Sunrise' this morning, former Howard government Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone issued a personal attack on former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who she said was intentionally undermining his successor Malcolm Turnbull.

“Abbott is not going to come back. His own supporters now recognise that they’ve been used,” Vanstone said from Adelaide.

“He’s a narcissist, and it’s always been about Tony – always – from the minute he was born.”

The former Senator crushed Mr Abbott’s reported hopes of returning to the prime ministership.

“He has got no support whatsoever – people can see him for what he is,” she said.

“How low can you go when you make a speech saying you’re not going to snipe – unlike Gillard, that’s what he said, he wasn’t going to be a sniper – and then hop on the phone and organise for a group of people to meet regularly by phone and do the sniping?”

Ms Vanstone said that it was true that there was some discontent in the Liberal party about Mr Turnbull’s leadership, it was over-covered by the media.

“Is it all a media concoction? The answer is no, it’s not – but as I say it’s contained in a small section of the people more to the right of the liberal party than towards the centre,” she said.

Her salvo is the latest in an ongoing back and forth between moderate and conservative members of the Liberal party.

Last week Mr Abbott said that conservatives viewed the Turnbull Government as “Labor lite” and warned of electoral losses to parties such as One Nation.

“Many of the people who normally support Coalition governments aren't happy,” the former prime minister said, warning of defeat at the next election if the government didn’t change course.

“Why not say to the people of Australia, ‘We'll cut the [Renewable Energy Target] to help with your power bills. We'll cut immigration, to make housing more affordable. We'll scrap the Human Rights Commission to stop official bullying. We'll stop all new spending to end ripping off our grandkids. And we'll reform the Senate to have government, not gridlock,’” Mr Abbott said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull branded the former leader’s comments as “sad”, asserting the Australian people had already given their verdict on the Abbott government.

“In the last six months or so, my government has delivered more through the senate, through the whole parliament, than we did in the last three years,” he said.

Earlier this week Mr Turnbull blamed Tony Abbott’s “calculated” statement for a drop in the government’s standing in the polls.

He said that the “outburst” had had “its desired impact on the Newspoll.”

Monday’s Newspoll was the worst for the government in two years, with the coalition 10 points behind the Labor Party with One Nation support at 10 per cent.

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