Ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants back into the Cabinet, requesting the Indigenous Affairs portfolio as a way to create a truce between him and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
According to an article written by his friend Catherine McGregor, published with Mr Abbott’s permission, Ms McGregor claimed that “Abbott is not for leaving” and is intent on speaking out about issues as he sees fit. She proposed that, by giving him a spot in the Cabinet, he could be brought back into line.
Another ally of the former PM said that if Mr Turnbull wants to end the unrest within his party, Mr Abbott should be reinstated on the frontbench.
Ms McGregor also suggested bringing in past prime minister John Howard to act as a mediator between the two most recent PMs.
Mr Abbott’s passion for Indigenous Affairs is well-known. He handled the role during his time as PM. It is believed he is targeting the portfolio because of Nigel Scullion’s mishandling of the Don Dale juvenile detention scandal.
It would seem that Mr Turnbull may be dealing with ‘blackmail’ of sorts, especially considering a recent News Corp article which stated that “Abbott actually believes that the ‘solidarity’ imposed upon him by the cabinet is the best insurance against his being deemed a wrecker. Only the discipline of the cabinet can completely align Abbott with his own avowed mission, the re-election of this government.”
In Ms McGregor’s article, she claims that “Abbott believes that only Turnbull can restore their relationship. He is the leader. He alone can ensure that Abbott is accorded the status and workload which befits a former prime minister.”
But another Liberal Party source thinks that conceding to Mr Abbott’s ‘ultimatum’ is akin to negotiating with a terrorist.
Ms McGregor believes that “there is no one better suited” to the role and that Mr Abbott “would love to do it”.
“He would consider himself bound absolutely by cabinet solidarity and he said he wouldn’t be a wrecker. He would honour the obligations of being a cabinet minister and serve with loyalty.”
Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald.
What do you think of Mr Abbott’s request? Do you think he’s suited to the role of Minister of Indigenous Affairs? Do you think he handled this portfolio well when he combined it with being PM? Is this just a form of blackmail?