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Turnbull gets stuck into former Liberal colleagues in BBC interview

Politics

Malcolm Turnbull has again dumped on his former Liberal colleagues for ousting him as prime minister, inflicting a fresh round of headaches ahead of the next election.

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Speaking to the BBC in London overnight, he described the August coup as a “peculiarly Australian form of madness”.

Turnbull continued to claim he was removed because he was on track to beat Labor Leader Bill Shorten.

“Basically, you could argue that their concern was not that I would lose the election but rather that I would win it,” he told the British broadcaster.

Turnbull said the Liberals were just two points behind in the public polls, and ahead in internal polling of marginal seats.

The former prime minister pointed out the Liberal Party was now polling poorly compared to his own performance ahead of the August spill.

“It still could win the election, the Liberal government, but its position is much less favourable than it was in August.”

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who was a key figure in the coup, described the ugly episode as “ancient history”.

“This is now ancient history – everything that had to be said in relation to this was said in relation to this last year,” he told Sky News.

“We have a responsibility to give ourselves the best possible opportunity to be successful at the next election, and that is what we are all focused on.”

Industrial Relations Minister Kelly O’Dwyer was uncomfortable fielding questions about Turnbull’s intervention.

“I’ve got to say there is an obsession in wanting to talk about these past historical issues,” she told ABC radio.

“I’m not a historian and the history wars are going to be fought out by historians. Frankly, I’m much more interested in having a policy discussion.”

Defence Minister Christopher Pyne also had no appetite for re-opening old wounds.

“I think we have raked over those coals quite enough in the last few months. I don’t propose to talk about it any further,” he told the Nine Network on Friday.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said Turnbull was right to describe the leadership coup as an act of madness.

“The fact is that no one can explain – not Scott Morrison, not Christopher Pyne – no one will explain to the Australian people why that happened.”

– AAP

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