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‘Political discussion is banished’: Tony Abbott savages Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership in the party room

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has savaged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership in the party room, taking aim at the suppression of debate.

The Member for Warringah says the nation’s leader has changed procedures, giving ministers and the leadership group the lions share of airtime.

Mr Abbott tells Chris Kenny there’s “pressure to conform” and it’s hurting political discussion.

“I got to say there aren’t that many opportunities for dissent in the party room these days. Party room procedure has changed under Prime Minister Turnbull.

“Political discussion is banished to the end of the party room. There are very long presentations from the leadership group and from the ministers.”

“I’ve got to say, I think that there is pressure to conform in the party room. No-one wants to rock the boat, and frankly, sometimes it’s necessary to rock the boat for our country’s sake.”

The former PM has also taken aim at the Prime Minister’s willingness to roll a democratically elected leader.

“As I said to Malcolm Turnbull back in 2009, I don’t want to change the leader, I just want to change the policy.

“Now, if Turnbull and I talked more, I’d say the same thing to him today. I don’t want to change the leader because I don’t believe in politically assassinating democratically elected prime ministers.

“I do not believe in that. He does, I don’t.”

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When it comes to the federal government’s National Energy Guarantee, Mr Abbott wants the policy to contain a price target.

He says the federal government’s policy is “page after turgid page” of emissions targets, with no price reduction objectives in sight.