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Tony Abbott fires back at Coalition colleagues for ‘over the top’ criticism

Tony Abbott has come out swinging at his Coalition colleagues for “intemperate and over the top” criticism of his comments on immigration policy.

In a speech on Tuesday night to the Sydney Institute, Mr Abbott suggested Australia reduce migration to 110,000 a year until infrastructure catches up and housing becomes more affordable.

It sparked a war of words with several senior government ministers.

Mr Abbott tells Ray Hadley he will “respond forcefully” if they continue to take potshots.

“The important thing is we ought to be capable of having a debate.

“I think I have a few qualifications to offer advice to the government.”

He said ministers must not have read his speech, “judging from the intemperate, over the top and to take a phrase from someone else, inept response they’ve made”.

He tells Ray they should “listen with a degree of respect”.

In an opinion piece in The Australian, Mr Abbott writes he knows more about winning elections than anyone in the parliament.

“When some topics are thought to be completely off-limits for debate, governments flounder and resentment grows.”

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