Tony Abbott ERUPTS as Joe Hockey claims they struck a secret deal to install him as Australia’s next Prime Minister that never came to pass
Former prime minister Tony Abbott has slammed a report claiming he was planning to install his former treasurer Joe Hockey as his successor as PM.
Just minutes after The Australian newspaper published an interview with Mr Hockey on Thursday evening, Mr Abbott fired off a three-sentence statement claiming it was ‘fake news’.
The report quoted Mr Hockey saying he had reached an understanding he would be the next leader of the Liberal Party and potentially the next PM: ‘That was the expectation, yes.’
Mr Hockey also agreed there was a clear agreement with Mr Abbott. The pair were swept to power in 2013 after campaigning against Julia Gillard’s carbon tax and asylum seeker policies.
Mr Abbott said the claims were absurd.
‘This story about a “secret deal” to make Joe Hockey PM is fake news.
‘The idea that I would do a secret deal to hand over the prime ministership is absurd because it’s not in the gift of anyone let alone a PM under the sort of pressure I was.
‘As (report writer) Troy Bramston well knows my view is that the prime ministership should be decided by the people not any two individuals conspiring in secret which I would never do’.
Mr Abbott was ousted as PM by Malcolm Turnbull in 2015. Mr Hockey resigned from Parliament immediately afterwards, his prime ministerial dream unrealised.
Mr Hockey is publishing a new book about his time as Australia’s ambassador to the US next week.