TONY Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull’s bitter struggle has reached new heights with the former Prime Minister lashing out at “corrosive” leaks in the Liberal Party.
It comes after internal party polling was leaked which showed Mr Abbott would have lost his seat without Malcolm Turnbull’s personal intervention during the 2016 federal election campaign.
“The sneaky and underhand business of leaking needs to stop,” Mr Abbott told Nine News today.
“It really does need to stop, it is absolutely corrosive of trust,” he said.
The internal party polling, taken in the final weeks of the 2016 election campaign and leaked to Fairfax Media, showed Mr Abbott was in danger of losing his seat of Warringah in a landslide.
Robo-calls and a personal mail-out by Mr Turnbull were reportedly crucial to saving the seat.
Mr Abbott, who has previously been accused of “white-anting” the Turnbull Government through months of speaking out against policy positions, said he was “very disappointed” someone had chosen to leak the data “for self-serving reasons”.
“The polling in question was very, very closely held,” he said.
“I had it, Tony Nutt had it, the Prime Minister had it.”
The Liberal party polled 400 voters in Mr Abbott’s electorate just 10 days before the election, Fairfax reports.
The results showed Mr Abbott had become so unpopular, the worst-case scenario was he would lose the seat to Labor by 57 per cent to 43 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.
The Liberal Party was reportedly so worried about the results it drew up a battle plan to enlist the help of Mr Turnbull, former Prime Minister John Howard and sympathetic 2GB shock jocks Alan Jones and Ray Hadley.
The radio host could “do a job” on high-profile independent candidate James Mathison and the Nick Xenophon Team candidate Marie Rowland.
“It would be good if Ray Hadley and Alan Jones could deliver a strong message about Warringah being under threat and perhaps do a job on Xenophon and Mathison. Mathison’s tweets and blogs will include some material that might concern voters about him,” the research said.
The polling found that 44 per cent of voters said they would vote Liberal. But when they were specifically asked whether they would vote for Mr Abbott, that primary vote fell 10 percentage points to 34 per cent.
Mr Turnbull was reportedly enlisted because he was more popular in Warringah than Mr Abbott.
Less than a third believed Mr Abbott deserved to be re-elected.
On election day, Mr Abbott won with a primary vote of 51 per cent.
Online Source: News