'Time-honoured tradition': Rumours Abbott will be offered Australia's top job in London

 

It’s rumoured Tony Abbott will be offered the diplomatic post of London in an attempt to quell ongoing divisions within the Liberal Party.

With the former prime minister openly criticising Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership and pillorying his party’s apparent loss of direction, some Liberal backbenchers are reportedly pushing for the coveted London High Commissioner role to be offered to Mr Abbott.

While there are some doubts Mr Abbott would take the job, views are divided as to whether he is trying to wake a “comatose prime minister” or simply swinging a “wrecking ball” through his party out of spite.

The Daily Telegraph reports the move to oust Mr Abbott comes ahead of a possible cabinet reshuffle in September.

Former PM Tony Abbott might get a plum job in the UK. Source: AAP

The report comes alongside more bad news for Turnbull government; with the latest News Poll showing Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has gained ground as preferred prime minister.

But it could all be hogwash and hot air according to commentator Prue MacSween.

“The Liberal Party thinks it will fix all of the problems. It is hardly true,” she told Seven’s Sunrise.

Mr Abbott is being accused of making trouble for his colleagues. Source: AAP

“They have always underestimated [Tony Abbott] and he will not be going anywhere.”

MacSween said the Liberal Party was: “trying to shift the blame and look at anyone but themselves” for their polling woes by making Mr Abbott a scapegoat.

“As they have a huge something at the election, they will blame Tony Abbott instead of realising that they have lost touch with the electorate.

Abbott is a scapegoat, Prue MacSween says. Source: Sunrise

“You would think one of the bright sparks in the Liberal Party would have a lightbulb come on in their head and think that they were doing something wrong,” she said, suggesting the Turnbull government should address the electorate’s concerns over power prices.

“This is a do-nothing government and they have got a comatose prime minister and Tony Abbott is trying to wake them up,“ she said.

Seven News reported Nick McCallum said he doubted Mr Abbott would take the plum posting, but noted there was form in offering such jobs in politics.

It's a time-honoured tradition, says Nick McCallum. Source: Sunrise

“It is the time-honoured political tradition, when someone is being a pain, respond by giving them the best job in the world,” McCallum said.

“Part of the problem is the government itself… speak to anyone within the conservative rump of the Liberal Party, speak to long-time supporters of Tony Abbott, they will tell you that it has gone beyond with Tony Abbott trying to reform his party.

“He is a wrecking ball and is hell-bent on destruction,” the reporter said, recalling how Kevin Rudd laid down the “blueprint” for such behaviour.

Should Abbott get a posting to the UK to stop his carrying on? Source: Sunrise

“That was only a few years ago. That is what will happen. They need to do something with him,” McCallum said, like “bring him into the tent”.

“Give him a ministry, something like Aboriginal affairs were he has a real passion, let him get this constitutional amendment through which will give him a great role in history and make the government look good and do something constructive for the country.”

Questions have been raised about what role Tony Abbott should play in the government. Source: AAP

The veteran reporter said he doubted Mr Abbott would take the High Commissioner role but added he would love to watch Mr Turnbull make the offer “through gritted teeth and would rather give him the job of ambassador to North Korea”.

The current High Commissioner to London is Alexander Downer, who served as foreign minister in the Howard government.

Mike Rann preceded him, a former Labor premier of South Australia

For more 'Hot Topic' discussions, tune in to Sunrise from 5am on weekdays.

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