Abbott demands respect from Lib colleagues

Abbott demands respect from Lib colleagues


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Tony Abbott has hit back at criticism from colleagues over his immigration stance.

Tony Abbott has hit back at criticism from colleagues over his immigration stance.

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Tony Abbott has called for respect from party colleagues in a blistering attack that has included claims the coalition wouldn't be in government if it wasn't for him.

Mr Abbott provoked the ire of fellow Liberal MPs when he called for Australia's permanent migration intake to be slashed by 80,000 places per year to 110,000.

After being slapped down for suggesting the cuts, the former leader on Friday said he was qualified to offer advice to the government, and that ministers should take it.

"But for my efforts in 2010 and 2013, (Malcolm) Turnbull wouldn't be in office and his ministers wouldn't be in office, so I think they should listen with a degree of respect," Mr Abbott told 2GB.

"They are not such geniuses they are the possessors of all political and economic wisdom."

Mr Abbott also penned an opinion piece for The Australian naming and shaming his critics, including Acting Prime Minister Mathias Cormann.

The former PM said he wasn't going to "cop gratuitous criticism" by letting his colleagues take pot shots.

"You'd think a government that's lost the past 27 Newspolls might be curious about how it could lift its game," Mr Abbott wrote.

Treasurer Scott Morrison disputed Mr Abbott's claim he was solely responsible for the coalition being in power.

"We were part of that team that made that happen and we all made our contributions," Mr Morrison said in Sydney.

"I know quite a lot about immigration issues, and we've been running a very strong policy in that area," he added.

Mr Cormann said while Mr Abbott was entitled to his view, so were his colleagues.

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo this week described Mr Abbott's position as "lazy" and "inaccurate", but on Friday said he didn't want to get into a tit-for-tat on immigration.

"Let's not pretend this is about numbers of immigrants. The fact is Australia is a richer country because of immigration," he told Sky News from Washington, where he is with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

One unnamed minister got personal, telling News Corp Mr Abbott was "a dog whistling piece of s***".

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said it was a continuation of the war between Mr Abbott and Mr Turnbull.

"The government said that Mr Abbott's ideas would cost the government billions of dollars. I don't think we need to give it any more consideration," he said.

Australian Associated Press

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