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Abbott's views 'a matter for him': PM

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October 13, 2017

Malcolm Turnbull says it's up to Tony Abbott to explain his changing opinions on climate change.

Deputy Liberal Leader Julie Bishop has slapped down Tony Abbott's changing opinions on climate change, while insisting the federal government is focused on delivering Australians affordable and reliable energy.

Ms Bishop, who is in South Korea for security talks, said the views Mr Abbott aired during a speech to climate sceptics in London this week were vastly different to those espoused while he was prime minister.

"It is up to him to explain the differences between his opinion then and his opinion now," she told the ABC on Thursday night.

Mr Abbott supported the Paris Climate Agreement while he was prime minister, set national emissions targets and established the Renewable Energy Target.

"He is entitled to change his mind, but I am sure that is why there is a deal of interest in what he has to say," Ms Bishop said.

"But the important thing is the government's position and under Prime Minister (Malcolm) Turnbull we are working hard to come up with a plan that delivers affordable and reliable energy that will meet our international obligations."

The foreign minister baulked at questions about whether Mr Abbott's constant undermining of the Turnbull government could cost the coalition the next election, or whether he ought be expelled.

Former liberal leader John Hewson has urged Mr Turnbull to call out his predecessor, especially over energy policy.

Mr Turnbull should draw a line in the sand in adopting a progressive clean energy target in the full knowledge that Mr Abbott would fight back, he said.

Dr Hewson thinks Mr Abbott would "make a bit of noise" and "a few that would back him", but ultimately voters would appreciate the prime minister standing up for his beliefs.

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