Abbott comes out swinging against his critics

Tony Abbott at Oxford in 1982. The former Prime Minister is at his best when he comes out swinging.

Tony Abbott won his boxing debut at Oxford in 45 seconds. His opponent was on the deck for almost as long. In his short, but very successful career, Abbott also took out a marine and a Sandhurst military cadet.

As a politician, Abbott was likewise a formidable pugilist. After his Liberal party colleagues squawked in unison to trash his speech on immigration, Abbott came out swinging.

Tony Abbott: I know more about winning elections than anyone

The Liberals under Malcolm Turnbull are on a hiding to nothing in the polls, but Abbott has spared nothing for the colleagues who knifed him in 2015.

One thing I am not going to cop is gratuitous criticism from ministers who are only in government because I led them there.

Abbott took the Coalition from a landslide defeat in 2007 to within a hair?s breadth of victory, in one term. If not for the personal animosity of independents like the featherweight desk soldier Andrew Wilkie, Abbott would have won in 2010. Three years later, Abbott easily trounced the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Labor party. That was a stunning result, in anyone?s books.

On the other hand, Malcolm ?Turncoat? Turnbull has been a political disaster. He barely scraped the Coalition over the line in 2015 and has only dragged them down since.

It is the prime minister?s right to choose his ministerial team and, given some of the policies of this government, I?m happy to serve on the backbench.

Turnbull is a Green bantam weight in borrowed Liberal blue, who has alienated large swathes of his party?s base, by pandering to ?progressive? elites. Riding elite hobby-horses like climate change and gay marriage, Turnbull has disaffected traditional, conservative party members. His inept bungling of the Barnaby Joyce affair is threatening to split the Coalition.

You?d think a government that?s lost the past 27 Newspolls might be curious about how it could lift its game.

Now, that?s a low blow. Turnbull?s stated justification for stabbing Abbott in the back was that the government had lost 30 Newspolls in a row. Abbott is reminding Turnbull that the clock is ticking on his own leadership.

Acting Prime Minister Mathias Cormann said I was wrong to criticise the experts. Actually, experts provide advice but it?s government?s job to make decisions. If government were required to take public-service advice, there?d be no point bothering with elections. One of this government?s failings is that it too often takes advice from the ?experts? who got us into difficulties in the first place.

Turnbull isn?t a leader. Letting unelected public servants run the show is not government. But that?s been the trend of Western governments, particularly following the lead of Europe, where Brussels technocrats issue diktats to democratically elected governments. The elites don?t ?do? democracy: ?benevolent? dictatorship is more their style.

Then there was Scott Morrison, who claimed reducing immigration had never been discussed while I was prime minister. This is false. I vehemently disagreed with the Treasury line that we couldn?t cut immigration because that would harm the budget ? ?although we didn?t adjust the official target because immigration was then trending down, by almost 50,000, since Labor?s last full year.

It?s astounding that no journalists pulled Morrison up on this. Abbott was openly advocating slashing immigration in 2010.

Abbott is also taking a jab at Labor, who, like their Democrat counterparts in the U.S., want to import millions of immigrants, on the bet that they?ll vote en masse for Labor – and to a large extent that?s true. Labor?s electoral fortress is Western Sydney, home of the majority of Australia?s Muslims. In some suburbs, over 70% of the population is Muslim. This does much to explain Labor?s endless pandering to Islam.

Abbott finishes off his attack with a flurry of blows which summarise the whole debate in a knockout:

must [we] always add a city the size of Adelaide to our population every five years?

It?s wrong in principle to let Treasury?s accounting rules determine what?s in our national interest. It?s ridiculous to accept that boosting immigration is just budget upside, as if Treasury really ?believed that population policy could fix the deficit. Most of all, it?s wrong to have a senior minister who invents things to score a cheap point against someone on his own side.

The Australian