Tony Abbott has penned a blistering retort to his colleagues after his calls for cuts to immigration were dismissed by the government’s front bench.
In an opinion piece for The Australian on Friday, Mr Abbott names and shames critics of his calls for cuts to Australian immigration, and suggests they have not read his speech.
“One thing I am not going to cop is gratuitous criticism from ministers who are only in government because I led them there,” the federal member for Warringah writes.
“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.”
The former prime minister lobbed a grenade into the immigration debate this week by calling for Australia’s permanent migration intake to be slashed by 80,000 places per year to 110,000.
That sparked a war of words with senior coalition colleagues all slapping down Mr Abbott, and continuing after his latest string of suggestions.
Trade Minister Steve Ciobo was among those who rejected Mr Abbott’s arguments against migrants, labelling his position “lazy” and “inaccurate”.
Despite not wanting to get into a tit-for-tat discussion with Mr Abbott he spoke out again from Washington, where he’s part of a delegation to the US led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
He said housing issues raised by Mr Abbott were largely restricted to Melbourne and Sydney while other markets are experiencing price drops and only modest gains.
“Let’s not pretend this is about numbers of immigrants, the fact is Australia is a richer country because of immigration,” he told Sky News.
Acting Prime Minister Mathias Cormann and Treasurer Scott Morrison have also drawn Mr Abbott’s ire.
“You’d think a government that’s lost the past 27 Newspolls might be curious about how it could lift its game,” Mr Abbott wrote.
“But no, ministers have gone out of their way to attack a colleague who knows more about winning elections than anyone in the parliament.”
Australia’s population is expected to grow by 11.8 million people by 2046, which is equivalent to adding a new city roughly the size of Canberra each year for the next 30 years.