CANBERRA -- Ignoring colleagues who want him to ease off with the very public free advice on governing and others who want the Liberal Party to stop talking about itself, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has come out in his local Sydney newspaper on Wednesday and declared he will "not be silenced".
Leaked audio of Abbott addressing a conservative Liberal Party branch meeting in Melbourne has quickly emerged in Fairfax Media with him describing the last federal budget as "second rate" and criticising the Liberal Party's leadership and direction under Malcolm Turnbull.
Just as fast, Treasurer Scott Morrison has referred to the latest Abbott offering as "background noise," but the former PM is getting, as always, a lot of attention.
"Just at this moment, let me tell you, we're at a bit of a low ebb," Abbott told the meeting hosted by Assistant Treasurer and fellow conservative Michael Sukkar.
"If you listen to some senior members of the government, because of the reality – the unfortunate reality – of the Senate, we have had to bring forward a budget which is second-best. A taxing and spending budget.
"Not because we believe in these things, but because the Senate made us do it. Well, a party that has to do what's second-best because the Senate made us do it is a party which needs some help."
The Treasurer did not bite when as asked by journalists in Sydney about Abbott's description of his second budget as "second rate".
"The Government is not interested in the background noise of politics," Morrison said.
And one of those senate crossbenchers who cause the "second-rate" budget has hit back in Abbott-sty;e "plain language," with Nick Xenophon telling reporters in Canberra. "I think Tony Abbott is being a huge pain in the arse right now".
Abbott's frequent interventions and Cabinet Minister Christopher Pyne's injudicious bravado - on another leaked audio recording - about the prospects of same sex marriage in Australia led Nationals Senator John "Wacka" Williams to fire off on Tuesday in exasperation, reminding Liberals that "division is death".
"That is very frustrating, it is very annoying and I'm just fed up with it," Williams told ABC radio on Tuesday.
"I think what Tony needs to do is just simply be more of a team player, as we were with Tony when he was prime minister."
Veterans Affairs Minister Dan Tehan wants all government members to sing another tune.
"The message that I am getting loud and clear is, from the community, is they don't want us talking about ourselves," he told Sky News.
"They want us talking about what we are doing to deliver for the community."
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