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Turnbull growing into PM role: Abbott

AAP logoAAP 16/11/2016

Tony Abbott says Malcolm Turnbull is growing into the role of prime minister and applauded him for acting like a "centre-right" leader should.

Mr Abbott said he was pleased the man who ousted him from the top job was standing up for the public on issues like the impact of renewable energy policies on power prices, border protection and union corruption.

"What we now have is another centre-right prime minister who is talking like a centre-right prime minister should," he told Sky News on Wednesday night.

He suggested Mr Turnbull's complaints about the so-called "elite media" during an interview with the ABC on Monday showed he had changed.

"I think this is a sign that Malcolm is growing into the role of prime minister," he said.

"He appreciates that it's one thing to appeal to a certain constituency when you are the would-be, but when you are the man you're constituency is first-and-foremost the party room and secondly the people who are going to vote for the coalition or who you want to vote for the coalition at the next election."

Mr Abbott acknowledged his successor was a life-long Liberal who well and truly "came home" when he joined the party as federal treasurer.

"He's now governing as an entirely orthodox centre-right prime minister."

In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Abbott said he regretted not doing more long-form media interviews while PM to show Australia he was "fair dinkum" and not living in a bubble.

"I tried the best I could but it didn't always come through."

Mr Abbott also spoke on Donald Trump's election, climate change, racial hate laws and the government's deal to send refugees to the United States.

He summed up Mr Trump's victory as the "revenge of the deplorables" - the people who were sick of being called racist, sexist, homophobic, islamaphobic, because they don't comply with the canons of political correctness.

"All of those people saw Donald Trump as, in some way, their champion."

"One of the encouraging things about his election was that we should finally be able to look at global warming in better perspective."

While it was a significant issue, the moral panic about it has been completely over the top, he said.

"All I know is that we haven't had any floods, any droughts, any storms in recent times to exceed those that we know we have had," Mr Abbott said.

"This idea that every weather event is somehow evidence of climate change I find deeply implausible."

Mr Abbott also labelled the Human Rights Commission a "crook organisation" and the behaviour of its president Gillian Triggs as unedifying in his argument that section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act needed to change.

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