Former prime minister Tony Abbott has slammed what he sees as a “corrosion of trust” within the government after leaked polling data from the 2016 election suggested he would have been pulled from the race for his seat of Warringah were it not for Malcolm Turnbull.
“The sneaky, underhand business of leaking needs to stop, it really does need to stop. It is absolutely corrosive of trust,” Mr Abbott told 9NEWS today.
The Australian Financial Review today reported Mr Turnbull intervened and saved Mr Abbott after internal party polling revealed he was slipping in popularity less than two weeks out from the election.
The worst-case scenario showed Mr Abbott was reportedly set to lose the seat to Labor by 57 percent to 43 percent on a two-party preferred basis, which would risk the Coalition’s chance at government.
He went on to win the seat with 61.5 percent of the two-candidate preferred vote.
"The polling in question was very, very closely held. I had it, Tony Nutt had it, the Prime Minister had it and I'm just very disappointed that someone has chosen to put it out there for self-serving reasons,” Mr Abbott said.
“It was always going to be a tough campaign in Warringah, we weren’t complacent. We never are, we got a good result.”
Mr Abbott said he was “grateful to everyone from the Prime Minister down” for their efforts in the 2016 election.
Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce today said he was fed up with the ongoing tension and wanted Mr Abbott “to be part of the team”.
“Once you run out of the dressing rooms, you have to be part of the team otherwise the team loses,” he said.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2017