Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declined to be drawn on questions on whether he has made up with his successor Malcolm Turnbull but insisted his government was ‘doing a good job’.
Speaking to Neil Mitchell on 3AW on Thursday, Mr Abbott said he’d exercise “silence” when asked if he had forgiven Mr Turnbull.
“There’s obviously been a lot of dirty water under the bridge,” he said.
“In time, all things are more readily understood, more readily accommodated and seen in perspective.
“Malcolm didn’t stay in the parliament to be someone else’s minister.”
When asked if he was surprised by the spill, Mr Abbott, who refused to rule out returning to the frontbench, responded: “It’s an interesting question.
“We were doing a good job.”
Mr Abbott also confirmed that he had exchanged text messages with Mr Turnbull since he was replaced.
The new PM told media on Thursday he had received positive feedback on the leadership change, stating members were “very happy with the transition”.
“The Liberal Party is a big tent, broad church, a big grassroots organisation and lots of people join,” he said.
Mr Abbott urged Liberal Party members to rally behind the new leadership, saying party members have “got to make the most of situations, even very difficult ones”.
“Stay in, fight for the things you believe in,” he said.
Mr Abbott’s comments follow reports hundreds of members of the Liberal Party have quit in the wake of last month’s leadership change.
He also explained when he was a journalist at The Bulletin and The Australian, he was warned off printing unsourced stories.
Throughout the latter stages of Mr Abbott’s prime ministership, leaks from his Cabinet were rife.
“Why did they [the media] allow themselves to be an assassin’s knife?” Mr Abbott asked.
“Stories based on self-serving claims that people weren’t prepared to put their names too.
“I’m just saying this is an issue for the media in our country.”
‘Disappointed’ with university reform shelving
One of the most contentious reforms in the Abbott government’s 2014 Budget was the deregulation of university fees.
On Thursday, the Turnbull government announced the reforms had been effectively dumped.
Mr Abbott said: “I am disappointed by it [the announcement].”
“It’s an interesting one,” Mr Abbott said. “A lot of people say we need fundamental reform … in particular we need reduced government spending.
“[Higher education reform was] a centre piece of a brave reforming 2014 Budget … surely the last people that need to be nannied are universities.”
The former Prime Minister also ruled out forming his own conservative political party.
– with ABC