News Abbott calls for Lib revolt: ‘Let’s take our party back!’

Abbott calls for Lib revolt: ‘Let’s take our party back!’

Former prime minister Tony Abbott issues "call to arms" for Liberal Party in veiled jab at Malcolm Turnbull Photo: Getty
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Former prime minister Tony Abbott has issued a “call to arms” to conservative Liberal members on the same day Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull delivered a thinly veiled jab at the former leader.

At the Liberal Party Democratic Reform event in Sydney, the former prime minister urged sympathisers in the New South Wales Liberals to wrest back control of the Liberal Party.

“The only way we can be a real people’s movement is if we respect the people, above all else if we respect the people who are in our party,” Mr Abbott said in his billed speech ‘Call to Arms for the Forgotten People of Our Party’.

“So let’s take our party back, and then we can win the next election!”

The message was met with a rousing applause and cheers by those gathered at the function.

On Saturday, Mr Turnbull took his own swipe at his predecessor in an opinion piece published in News Corp newspapers across the country, saying Australia had no time for “wreckers”.

“[Australians] are sick of politics, and sick of personalities,” Mr Turnbull wrote in the article.

“Frankly, so am I. This is a time for builders, not wreckers.”

Although saying he wanted to “cut through the media commentary” and the “game of politics”, political reporters suggest the term “wrecker” is a nod to Mr Abbott’s final press conference in the Prime Minister’s courtyard in September 2015.

“My pledge today is to make this change as easy as I can,” Mr Abbott said after he was ousted from the top job.

“There will be no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping,” he said.

“I’ve never leaked or backgrounded against anyone, and I certainly won’t start now.”

Mr Abbott’s call to arms follows a number of speeches this week outlining his vision for the government and criticising decisions of senior ministers, in what some consider a bid to undermine the Prime Minister.

After the event, he said he was not preparing for a leadership challenge and remained a “servant of the party”.

Turnbull government frontbencher Angus Taylor also addressed the function, and was at pains to emphasise the need for structural reform of the party should not be viewed as a factional war.

He went as far as to say that it was not a case of “Turnbull versus Abbott, or Abbott versus Turnbull”.

– With ABC

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