Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has vehemently denied making a deal with Senator David Leyonhjelm over the Adler shotgun and dodged questions about his latest tweet.
Speaking to Leigh Sales on The 7:30 Report on Wednesday night, Abbott said he never negotiated on gun laws while holding the top job.
On Monday, a political staffer's email from 2015 was made public, indicating an apparent deal between Leyonhjelm and the Coalition, where the 'sunset clause' on the Adler shotgun was exchanged for Leyonhjelm's agreeing to migration amendments.
The email said a sunset clause would be amended to ban the importation of the Adler shotgun for only 12 months and Leyonhjelm would vote against Labor's migration policies put to parliament.
(Reposted) an email Leyonhjelm proves the Abbott gov reneged on a deal re: Adler shotgun pic.twitter.com/WUAF0hwsCI— Frank Keany (@FJKeany) October 18, 2016
The sunset clause was amended while Abbott was still prime minister.
"No, no, no... wrong, wrong. A staffer in a Minister's office, no deals from me. There were no deals from my office," Abbott told Leigh Sales after the email was read to him on the program.
"I suspect that what these staffers were doing was telling the good Senator what was happening anyway as a matter of course in an attempt to get him to support something that we thought was a very good idea."
The claims have come into the spotlight after Abbott criticised alleged negotiations between Leyonhjelm and Turnbull over the ABCC legislation -- one of the two bills triggering the double-dissolution election -- which the Prime Minister denies.
Disturbing to see reports of horse-trading on gun laws. ABCC should be supported on its merits.— Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR) October 18, 2016
On Wednesday night, Abbott claimed he was "chiding" Leyonhjelm instead of Turnbull and, despite Sales asking him three times, would not answer how tweeting a disapproving comment about Government negotiations helps his own side.
"My determination is to be the best possible Member for Warringah in this term of Parliament. But occasionally, on important national and international issues, as a former Prime Minister, I will have something to say.
But when it came to the U.S election, the former Prime Minister was suddenly cagey.
Outside of calling Trump's sexist comments "absolutely reprehensible" Abbott would not be drawn into commentary on the U.S election, despite last week claiming Trump's policies were "reasonable enough".
"We should have the best possible relations with the American President. And that's why I think we should try to avoid offering a gratuitous commentary," Abbott said on Wednesday night.
"The smutty stuff that came out last week is absolutely reprehensible. But, in the end, the leader of America, the President of the US, is the leader of the free world. And whoever that person is, the Australian Government needs to work very closely with him or her."
Abbott danced around speculation he wanted the Prime Ministership back.
"I'm not expecting a vacancy any time soon," Abbott told Sales.
"It's not a question of what I might like, it's a question of what the party room wants and the party room wants to end the revolving door prime ministership.
"I certainly want Malcolm Turnbull to be the best possible PM throughout this term."
And with his final line, it's clear the Member for Warringah isn't going anywhere.
"Nice to be here and let's not let it be so long until next time," Abbot told Sales.Suggest a correction