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Tony Abbott hits back at Malcolm Turnbull’s Peta Credlin claims

Tony Abbott hits back at Malcolm Turnbull’s Peta Credlin claims

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has hit back at Malcolm Turnbull over claims of a “bizarre relationship” with a senior staffer. Turnbull spoke about Abbott and his former chief of staff, Peta Credlin, to ABC’s 7:30 which is mentioned in his new memoir A Bigger Picture.

“He worshipped and feared her and she, on the other hand, treated him with disdain,” Turnbull told the ABC’s 7.30.

“It was as though she felt, ‘I’ve created you, you’re my creation’, and she felt she owned him.

“It was a bizarre – a truly bizarre – relationship.”

On Tuesday morning, Abbott was quick to respond.

“I am aware of some pretty odious comments that one of my successors made last night,” he told Seven’s Sunrise.

“Anyone who’s watched Peta Credlin on TV would know what an extraordinarily capable person she is.

“She was an important part of the Abbott Government, she was a fine thinker, a greater organiser and a trusted colleague.”

In a chapter titled ‘Tony and Peta’, Turnbull’s memoir revisits the relationship between Abbott and the woman who briefly served as deputy chief of staff in his own office while the Liberal Party was in opposition.

When Abbott overthrew Turnbull as leader in 2009, Turnbull switched camps.

Turnbull said that despite Abbott’s “carefully cultivated image as the hairy-chested, bike-riding, firefighting alpha male, complete with a swagger that would put a sailor to shame”, he was a pussycat when it came to his chief of staff.

“You were really dealing with Peta and Peta was running the country and that was obvious, and dominating Abbott,” he told 7.30.

Turnbull’s ‘no holds barred’ memoir is a scathing analysis of his three-year tenure as the 29th Prime Minister of Australia and hypocrisy within the Liberal Party is a theme he returns to often. If Turnbull isn’t slamming his successor, Scott Morrison, for his “cringe-worthy ‘daggy dad’ persona”, he’s calling Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton a “narcissist who was self-delusional” for thinking he could ever be prime minister.

The personal lives of Nationals MPs Barnaby Joyce and George Christensen are also discussed in this book, including Turnbull himself being “sickened by the hypocrisy” of Christensen, who is a devout Christian but regularly visited “seedy” nightclubs in Manila.

Christensen has since defended the trips, saying he was visiting his Filipina fiancée.