Tony Abbott's COS allegedly thought wife was 'a distraction'

THEY are the two women who mattered most to Tony Abbott, but it seems they didn't get on.

According to a former high-ranking member of the Liberal Party, the former Prime Minister's chief of staff, Peta Credlin, behaved like "schoolgirl" and got stroppy when Margie Abbott asked for help.

Describing the dysfunction in Mr Abbott's office, Niki Savva, who was press secretary for former Australian Treasurer Peter Costello, said that Ms Credlin thought Ms Abbott was a distraction.

The Australian newspaper quoted Ms Savva as saying that Ms Credlin scolded her staff for helping Mr Abbott's Kiwi wife with speaking notes.

Ms Savva said: "Credlin thought Margie was a distraction for Tony, that Tony was too concerned about whether Margie was OK rather than focusing on the job. Yet when she [Peta] was behaving like a schoolgirl, she was just as distracting because he never wanted her to be upset."

Ms Credlin's "micro-managing" has been cited as one of the reasons Mr Abbott lost the confidence of his party and lost the leadership vote this week to rival Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Abbott had been under pressure from disgruntled colleagues to sack her in the months leading up to the leadership spill.

Ms Abbott has been seen as a someone who managed to humanise her husband.

When she was called upon in 2010 to assure the Australian public her husband was not a misogynist as the then prime minister, Julia Gillard, claimed, she called her speech "the joy of an ordinary life".

In the life she described with Tony Abbott and their three daughters, it was hard to see her as anything other than an ordinary person, in the nicest possible way.

Ms Abbott, who grew up in Wainuiomata and met Mr Abbott at a Sydney pub, was viewed by many as a capable independent woman who still kept herself grounded in the lives of other ordinary people.

- NZ Herald

Topics:  chief of staff tony abbott

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