Peta Credlin has responded to Malcolm Turnbull’s book. Picture: Jane Dempster/The Australian
Peta Credlin has responded to Malcolm Turnbull’s book. Picture: Jane Dempster/The Australian

‘His language was pretty filthy’

Tony Abbott's former chief of staff has hit back at suggestions they had a "truly bizarre" relationship when he served as prime minister.

Peta Credlin was mentioned a number of times in Malcolm Turnbull's new book A Bigger Picture, where the former PM addresses everything from his childhood to his ousting as the leader of Australia in 2018.

Mr Turnbull also addressed the working relationship between Mr Abbott and Ms Credlin on 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," he said.

Peta Credlin has hit back at Malcolm Turnbull. Picture: Jane Dempster/The Australian
Peta Credlin has hit back at Malcolm Turnbull. Picture: Jane Dempster/The Australian

 

Ms Credlin hit back on her Sky News show last night saying she would not "climb into the gutter" with the former PM.

"It's all about character and his character has been exposed by this book and I'm not going to climb in the gutter with him," she said.

"I never felt there was an ounce of conviction in him.

"To be fair, I think that (the prime ministership) was a box that he had decided at 10 or 12 years of age to tick … make a lot of money, tick, have a lovely family, tick, being prime minister.

"Enough people had said to him, 'you should be prime minister' and he went into it thinking he had the sweetest skills, but the biggest skill you have to have is judgment and his judgment was one of the biggest problems he had."

Ms Credlin continued to fire back at the former PM claiming "he couldn't campaign to save himself" but he could "charm" people when he wanted to.

"His language was pretty robust, pretty filthy I have to say, but he could turn the charm on as well if he thought someone was within earshot," she said.

"He was one of those politicians, there's a class of politicians, where when you're having a conversation with them they look past you, past your ear to the next person to catch their eye and move on.

"He is that sort of politician, that sort of player that's always looking for the next chess move in the game of politics."

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is making waves with his new memoir. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is making waves with his new memoir. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP

 

Mr Turnbull's memoir, out today, has not been well-received by those still in politics.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Mr Turnbull's successor, appeared to take a thinly-veiled swipe at the former PM in a press conference yesterday afternoon when he was asked to comment.

The Bigger Picture is especially critical of Mr Morrison and his government.

"On this issue I will remain focused on the actual bigger picture, and that is dealing with the response to coronavirus," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

After snatching the top job from Mr Abbott in 2015, Mr Turnbull was knifed in 2018, paving the way for Scott Morrison to become prime minister.

Earlier, Tony Abbott defended his former chief-of- staff, saying Ms Credlin had been an important part of his government.

"I am aware of some pretty odious comments that one of my successors made," he said.

"She was a fine thinker, a great organiser, and she was a trusted colleague. I think she deserves a great deal of credit for what she did."

Originally published as 'His language was pretty filthy'



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