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Barnaby Joyce Thinks Tony Abbott Should Just STFU

"If you want to be a philosopher on a log, you’ll have a small audience."

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Barnaby Joyce had a pretty blunt answer when asked if the former prime minister's continued public commentary was helpful to the government: "Probably not".

The deputy prime minister told ABC radio that Abbott's relentless public commentary wasn't helpful, however Abbott maintains as a former leader and prime minister he is entitled to speak on a range of issues.

“We’ll continue doing our job,” Joyce said on Wednesday morning. “If you want to be a philosopher on a log you’ll have a small audience, and generally you will find they’ve already made up their mind about you anyhow."

In the last week Abbott has called on the government to cut its $40 million a year aid budget to the Palestinian Authority because it, "keeps paying pensions to terrorists and their families".

Abbott thinks the government could demonstrate "unswerving support for Israel" by moving the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Both suggestions have been rejected by foreign minister Julie Bishop, and described as "unfounded" and "unhelpful" by the head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, Izzat Abdulhadi.

Peace in the Middle East. @billshortenmp @TonyAbbottMHR @TimSmithMP Australia Israel UK Leadership Dialogue #auspol

Joyce also hosed down any talk of leadership speculation or division within the Coalition, after support for the Turnbull government fell to its lowest level last month.

“The alternative in the end will not be between different people within the Liberal Party — it will be between the Coalition and the Labor Party,” he said. "We will keep doing our job. I genuinely believe the Coalition of the Liberal Party and the National Party is the best form of government for Australia."

Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.

Contact Alice Workman at alice.workman@buzzfeed.com.

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