Former prime minister Tony Abbott has broken protocol to reveal that immigration cuts were discussed at the highest levels, in a slap down of a ‘lack of gumption’ from Treasurer Scott Morrison.
The Abbott government had “very vigorous discussion” about the issue in early 2015 as part of the budget process, Mr Abbott wrote on Facebook on Thursday.
The post was a response to Mr Morrison’s rebuke of a speech given by Mr Abbott earlier in the week calling for a reduction to Australia’s immigration intake.
“Because we were achieving a reduction anyway I eventually decided not to adjust the official figure but I kept it on the table as I never accepted the Treasury orthodoxy that more migrants mean more growth and a stronger budget outcome,” Mr Abbott wrote.
In a stab at the Treasurer, he wrote that Mr Morrison “should have the gumption to think for himself” – in what one media commentators described as a “tantrum”.
Mr Morrison had rejected the call for an immigration cut, saying it would cost the economy billions of dollars.
Such a cut would ease pressure on housing and infrastructure, he claimed.