Election 2016: Peta Credlin rejects Tony Abbott comeback talk
Tony Abbott comeback talk ‘rubbish’: Credlin
Peter Credlin directs Barnaby Joyce to ‘get back on the wombat trail’ after suggesting Tony Abbott wants to regain leadership of the Coalition.
Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff Peta Credlin has rubbished claims her old boss wants his job back, labelling deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce’s comments “horse s–t”.
The Nationals leader, a political ally of Mr Abbott, on Tuesday said he believed the former PM still harboured leadership ambitions but would realise a comeback wasn’t possible.
“He will want to, but he’ll realise he can’t,” Mr Joyce told AAP. “To say that he doesn’t have a desire is ridiculous – to say that he can’t overcome that desire by the reality that’s just not going to happen [is another].”
Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff Peta Credlin is now a Sky News commentator.
But Ms Credlin, who worked closely with Mr Abbott for six years in opposition and in government, said that assessment was incorrect and reiterated that the Abbott years were “over”.
“I think that’s ‘absolute rubbish’. I was going to say horse s–t but I don’t know if I can say that on TV,” she told Sky News on Tuesday night.
“Honestly, Barnaby, get back on the wombat trail – please leave this alone. Tony’s made absolutely clear that the Abbott years are over, and no one can look at his performance during this campaign and see that he’s anything other than a team player.”
Tony Abbott campaigning at Manly wharf in his seat of Warringah. Photo: Damien Murphy
The wombat trail is a nickname for the Nationals’ campaign during an election, running through regional Australia.
Despite maintaining the private support of many conservative Coalition colleagues, Mr Abbott has repeatedly quashed talk of a return to the Liberal leadership.
Last month he told his friend and broadcaster Andrew Bolt that he did not expect the party to “ever go back” on its decision to dump him for Malcolm Turnbull in September last year.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is stalked by a Tony Abbott cut-out wielded by a member of the satirical Chaser program while campaigning in western Sydney this week. Photo: Andrew Meares
“Political parties don’t go back, the Abbott era has been and I think my role is to be occasionally, perhaps, an elder statesman, certainly a very vigorous and forthright member for Warringah, where I can be a help to my colleagues in this campaign I will be – but that’s my role going forward,” he said.
During the campaign so far, Mr Abbott has appeared in several electorates other than his own, including George Christensen’s Queensland seat of Dawson, Mark Coulton’s NSW seat of Parkes and the Western Australian seat of Tangney, where Dennis Jensen was dumped by preselectors.
Mr Joyce said Mr Abbott was “by nature a very competitive person” and that “human nature being what it is, people who’ve had that desire will maintain that desire to win”.
– with AAP
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2016/election-2016-abbott-comeback-talk-horse-st-says-peta-credlin-20160531-gp8l0w.html#ixzz4AIrI59hL
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