Former prime minister Tony Abbott has offered yet more feedback for the Turnbull government, claiming that voters expect Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will soon become the Prime Minister.
Writing an opinion piece in News Corp newspapers, the former prime minister said Australians were “sick of politicians who change their policies to suit their political convenience”.
But Mr Abbott said the solution to the Coalition’s woes was not to knife Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, advising his party to instead embrace more conservative principles and show greater political conviction.
Mr Abbott’s oped has come soon after he said in February that the Coalition risked drifting “to defeat if we don’t lift our game” and that the government had become “Labor-lite”.
Mr Abbott was rolled by Mr Turnbull in September 2015 languishing in the polls. But the tables have turned, with Mr Turnbull having suffered 10 bad polls, and his ministers openly arguing in recent weeks over housing affordability.
The internal ructions prompted former Liberal leader John Hewson to call for Mr Turnbull to restore discipline.
Mr Abbott effectively ruled out ousting Mr Turnbull.
“The best way to keep (Bill) Shorten out is not to sack an elected prime minister yet again but to ensure that the government does its job better,” he wrote on Monday.
He said people were blaming Labor as much as the government for issues, but he said “there was an expectation that Shorten could soon be in the Lodge”.
But Cabinet minister Darren Chester said the Coalition was already focused on being a good government to keep Labor out of office.
“We’ve got to work together as Liberal and National party MPs and ministers who are passionate about Australia’s future and deliver everything we said we’d do — that’s what people expect of their governments,” he told ABC radio on Monday.
Mr Abbott’s five-point plan reflects his more conservative policies and includes:
* axing the Human Rights Commission;
* cutting renewable-energy subsidies to reduce power prices;
* reforming the Senate to end legislative gridlock;
* protect existing benefits for employees, but make it easier for future generations to get work;
* don’t apologise for Australia; be proud of it.
“I’m more convinced than ever that measures like these would get Australia working again,” Mr Abbott wrote.
Mr Abbott’s latest intervention in the running of the Turnbull government is unlikely to be rewarded.
In February, Mr Turnbull and senior ministers blasted Mr Abbott for his “sad”, provocative outburst.
– with ABC