News National Tony Abbott protects his legacy while toeing the party line on gun laws

Tony Abbott protects his legacy while toeing the party line on gun laws

Tony Abbott has denied criticising the Turnbull government over gun laws
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Former prime minister Tony Abbott has denied he was attacking his successor Malcolm Turnbull when he spoke out against doing deals on Australian gun laws.

Amid claims this week that the Turnbull government was willing to negotiate with Senator David Leyonhjelm to rescind the ban on the rapid-fire Adler shotgun, Mr Abbott raised eyebrows on Tuesday when he tweeted his concerns over “horse-trading” on gun legislation.

The Abbott government first introduced a temporary ban on the eight-shot Adler shotgun in 2015. The ban was extended by the Turnbull government in July.

Despite Mr Leyonhjelm’s leak of 2015 emails implicating Abbott government ministers agreeing to lift the Adler ban in exchange for the senator’s support in parliament, Mr Abbott denied a deal was done.

“The bottom line in this is that the guns were stopped because of the Abbott government, only because of the Abbott government,” he told ABC’s 7.30 on Wednesday.

“But for the Abbott government we would have tens of thousands of these weapons in our country and they’re staying stopped because of the Turnbull government.”

Mr Abbott also denied Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Justice Minister Michael Keenan were involved in deals with regards to the controversial gun, despite Senator Leyonhjelm’s leaked emails coming from staff in their offices.

“I suspect that what these staffers were doing was telling the good senator what was happening anyway as a matter of course in an attempt to get him to support something that we thought was a very good idea,” he said. 

“No deals from me. No deals from my office. No deal.”

Watch Mr Abbott speak out on the Adler shotgun deal:

Mr Abbott sought to end speculation over disunity by praising Mr Turnbull and his stance on gun laws.

“The Abbott government stopped them. And the Turnbull government has kept them stopped,” he said.

“So you can trust this government to keep our nation safe.”

Return to the top job

That public loyalty was also borne out when asked if he wants his old job back.

“It’s not a question of what I might like, it’s a question of what the party room wants and the party room wants to end the revolving door prime ministership,” Mr Abbott said.

“I certainly want Malcolm Turnbull to be the best possible PM throughout this term. … And then to win a thumping victory,” he said.

Mr Abbott said the Coalition party room wants the Turnbull government and Mr Turnbull to succeed.

“That’s what I want and that’s what I’m doing my best to bring about.”

Mr Abbott on his interest to become PM again:

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