Tony Abbott comeback talk ‘rubbish’: Credlin

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.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.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 ...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

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Turnbull vows to stop ‘excessive’ pay rises

Turnbull vows to stop ‘excessive’ pay rises for construction workers

Election 2016: Union invites prime minister to ‘tell workers why they should be paid less’, as Malcolm Turnbull says wage rises cost jobs

Steelworker welding in Melbourne
 Steelworker welding in Melbourne. Malcolm Turnbull has criticised a Victorian Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union deal offering a 15% pay rise over three years. Photograph: Julian Smith/AAP

Malcolm Turnbull has criticised a workplace deal granting a 15% pay rise over three years negotiated by the Victorian construction union. Turnbull said it was the sort of deal a tougher building watchdog would stop.

On 2GB on Wednesday in one of his few one-on-one interviews during the campaign, Turnbull was asked by host Alan Jones about the deal the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union Victorian construction branch had struck with employers and similar deals around the country.

Jones asked: “How do you think workers in marginal seats battling for any pay increase at all feel when they learn the average income of a carpenter on a unionised project is $163,000? These are on state government projects, so the end result is the taxpayer picks up the tab, who is going to stop these excesses?”

Turnbull responded: “Well we will stop that.”

“But we can’t stop that unless we win this election, because unless we win this election we cannot get the Australian Building and Construction Commission legislation reinstatedand we do that through the joint sitting,” he said.

“That’s why we’re having the double dissolution, we’re doing this because, unless we were miraculously to have a majority in the Senate, which I don’t expect, [it’s] the only way we can get the rule of law restored in the construction sector and the building code re-established.”

Turnbull said the building code, which bans coercion to win above-award pay rises, would “ensure you don’t get these shocking agreements between the CFMEU and builders”. He said builders were “basically stood over” by the construction union.

“I’m in Brisbane, if you talk to builders and developers here they will tell you on union jobs there are only three tiling companies in this city that the CFMEU will let on the site, no one else can get a look in.”

“The CFMEU stand over the builders and developers, and because the rule of law is not applied, they are able to get away with it. The rule of law did apply when we had the ABCC but the Labor party took it away because they act at the behest of these militant unions.”

Turnbull claimed most construction workers did not benefit from “the CFMEU stand-overs, most of them suffer … because there is less construction and less opportunities”.

“If we had a more lawful construction sector, if the rule of law applied there would be more construction and more construction jobs, taxpayers would not be paying in excess of 30% more for projects like this.”

The CFMEU construction division national secretary, Dave Noonan, told Guardian Australia “there’s plenty of work … there’s a lot of money being made in the construction industry and workers are entitled to a fair share of it”.

“The latest rounds of agreements are reached by negotiations and the union doesn’t apologise for negotiating hard, same as employers do. These are big corporations that are capable of protecting their economic interests and the union is there to advance the interests of its members.”

Noonan said construction workers needed higher wages because they “frequently spend weeks and months out of work. Very frequently your job finishes with the project you’re on.”

“We’re happy to extend the hand of friendship to Malcolm Turnbull. He can come down to a major construction site in any CBD around Australia and tell the workers why they should be paid less. I’m sure they’ll take that well from a millionaire [former] merchant banker.”

Responding to claims Labor was beholden to unions, Noonan noted significant donations from property developers to the Liberal party.

Bill Shorten addressed the CFMEU Victorian branch’s attempts to win an 18% pay rise at a doorstop on Thursday. He said: “Ultimately what employers and employees negotiate is their business.”

Asked why he was not more critical of the CFMEU, Turnbull said: “I talk about it, but I’m acting. I dissolved both houses of parliament in order to put this bit of legislation on the agenda, to legislate it and make it happen.” From The Gardian Australia