News National ‘Vengeful’ Abbott being urged to retire at next election

‘Vengeful’ Abbott being urged to retire at next election

Tony Abbott is being told his time is up. Photo: Getty
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Tony Abbott is being urged to retire at the next election for his role in sparking the Liberals’ leadership spill.

The former prime minister was an increasingly public critic of the now-deposed Malcolm Turnbull, leading the push for Peter Dutton to take over as leader.

“I think he’ll retire at the next election,” Queensland Liberal MP Andrew Laming told ABC Radio on Saturday. “I’d encourage him to.”

It was up to the new, “formidable team” of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Liberal deputy Josh Frydenberg to pull the party together on policy, he said.

Fellow Queensland Liberal MP Warren Entsch also called time on Mr Abbott.

“I think his mission is accomplished,” Mr Entsch told News Corp.

He has got rid of his nemesis. Everything there was purely about revenge.”

For his part, Mr Abbott said it was time coalition members put the past behind them and hinted he wasn’t considering quitting anytime soon.

“This is a reset. I think it is a fresh start,” he told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.

“I certainly am going to give Scott Morrison total support, and I’m looking forward to working with him in the weeks and months and years to come.”

Victorian Liberal MP Tim Wilson said one of the big tasks for the Liberals is to explain to the Australian people why the change of leadership occurred.

“And then how we’re going to unite and focus to go and win the election, which can be won, which should be won, because we have a very strong track record,” Mr Wilson told the ABC.

Asked whether he supported Scott Morrison as the new prime minister, said: “Resolutely yes.”

Watch Tony Abbott’s impromptu interview

Mr Wilson dismissed as “fanciful” conservative concerns that the Liberal Party had been moving too far to the left under Malcolm Turnbull.

“People need to sit down and actually read some philosophy and actually understand what the words ‘conservatism’ and ‘liberalism’ mean,” he said.

“The Turnbull government was actually very consistent with those values.”

The irony was all the greater with the architects of two of the Coalition’s most contentious policies – company tax cuts and the NEG – now leading the party.

Mr Abbott may have chosen to remain in parliament after losing the leadership in 2015, but Mr Turnbull made it clear he would not be sticking around.

“Former prime ministers are best out of the Parliament,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“I don’t think there’s much evidence to suggest that that conclusion is not correct.”