Turnbull: ‘No comment’ on Abbott abandonment

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull refuses to be drawn on a new wave of leadership speculation sparked by talk that senior Liberal Tony Abbott is after his job.

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Former Liberal minister Bruce Baird has publicly questioned whether Mr Abbott is eyeing off the leadership after hardening his opposition to the government’s emissions trading scheme.

Mr Abbott today said that he was no longer supporting the stratedy to amend and pass the scheme.

Four months ago Mr Abbott said the coalition needed to accept an emissions trading scheme to get it off the political agenda.

“I’ll leave you guys to comment on all that,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Queanbeyan on Friday.

“I certainly don’t run a commentary on that kind of thing.”

Turnbull wants judgement on ETS held off

Earlier, Mr Turnbull urged his divided party to hold off judgment on emissions trading until negotiations with the government wind up.

He said he was focused on the climate change negotiations, having just attended a meeting on Friday morning.

Facing continued dissent over emissions trading within his own party, Mr Turnbull implored his colleagues to wait until the negotiations are over before making up their minds.

“The idea that you take a unilateral view and either wave it through willy nilly or knock it back willy nilly regardless of how it might be amended – I don’t take that view,” he said.

Turnbull said he expected that “shadow cabinet ministers and shadow ministers abide by the decision of the shadow cabinet,”

In reference to Abbott’s turnaround, Turnbull expressed surprise. “Earlier in the year, he was saying we should just vote it through”, he said.