Monday, 25 January 2016

The only way Tony Abbott will leave the Australian Parliament is if the voters of Warringah kick him out

Apparently desperate to hang on to his seat, parliamentary salary and entitlements, as well as intent on regaining the prime ministerial position he now recalls he ‘left’ rather than was sacked from – far-right politician Anthony John “Tony” Abbott is renominating in the Warringah electorate as a candidate in the 2016 federal general election.




After leaving the prime ministership, I said that I would spend some time talking to family, trusted colleagues and local Liberals about my future. I have been heartened by the support and encouragement I’ve received to continue to serve the country as a member of parliament. 

Therefore, I am renominating to represent the people of Warringah for another term as their Liberal MP.

I am proud of my work to establish the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust that has done so much to improve the amenity of former military land on North Head, Middle Head and Georges Heights. Should I be renominated and elected, I am looking forward to working with Premier Mike Baird to ensure that the Warringah Peninsula gets better transport links to the rest of Sydney.

It has been a great honour to serve the people of Warringah for 22 years and I hope to retain their trust and confidence.

Though I am not sure that the NSW Division of the Liberal Party of Australia or the voters of Warringah are quite as enthusiastic as Abbott about his candidature.

Cartoon by Cathy Wilcox at
The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 December 2015:

Former prime minister Tony Abbott should quit Parliament at the next election to make way for new talent according to a majority of electors within his own safe Liberal seat of Warringah.

With Liberal MPs and supporters reading the signs of growing disunity within the Turnbull government as Mr Abbott and other malcontents continue to speak out, exclusive ReachTel polling conducted for the Australian Institute, has found most voters in the 65 per cent Liberal electorate believe the ex-PM's time has passed....

The New Daily, 21 January 2016:
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s habit of undermining the Turnbull government means he should quit politics before the next election, former Liberal Party insiders say.
Since being dethroned in September last year, speculation has been rife that Mr Abbott wants the country’s top job back.

Reports emerged this week that he had decided to contest the 2016 Election.

However, despite a distinguished record in federal politics and a formidable run of election wins in Warringah, Mr Abbott is being urged to quit because staying would hurt the Liberal Party.
Former Liberal Party leader John Hewson told The New Daily that Mr Abbott would be harmful to the party if he kept behaving like he had since losing the leadership challenge to Malcolm Turnbull.

“If he used it [his position in parliament] as a platform to criticise the government I don’t think it is terribly helpful to them,” Mr Hewson said.

When asked if Mr Abbott had been destabilising the Turnbull government since being dumped as PM to get the job back, Mr Hewson said: “Well there has been some inspired comments by his colleagues and himself … More or less inspired.”

Political commentator and electoral voting analyst Peter Brent emphatically agreed.

“I think it would be better for the Coalition and the Liberal Party if he bowed out [before the 2016 election] because as long as he is around he is a focus of discontent,” Mr Brent told The New Daily.

“With him gone at least everything won’t be interpreted as part of a push to bring Abbott back [as the PM].

“Every time one of them says something it is seen through that prism [trying to get the PM job back]. It would be in the interests of the party if he went away.”

Former media advisor to John Howard in the 1990s and political columnist for The New Daily Paula Matthewson said his true intention was only to disrupt any government he wasn’t leader of.

“I think it has become fairly clear that his intentions are more than upholding the broad church that is the Liberal Party in making sure there is enough conservative voices in it,” Ms Matthewson said.

“The fact is that he nurses the hope of going back to the leadership.

“Really, his true intention is about destabilising and finally trying to remind people that he should be leader.

“On that basis I would say no, it is not good for him to stay.”….


The Australian, 25 January 2016:

Tony Abbott clearly maintains a “flicker of ambition” to resume the prime ministership and any cast-iron guarantees he gives to remain on the backbench are “worthless”, says Victorian Liberal president Michael Kroger…..

The Australian, 25 January 2016:

Tony Abbott’s decision to renominate for the seat of Warringah at the next election carries a twin message for Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party: the former Prime Minister has considered his options and decided to remain in Parliament and conservative Liberals are reacting to what is seen to be a “scorched earth” policy of retribution.

Abbott’s personal decision was tortured and complicated, he could have chosen “anything” within the power of the Turnbull government to deliver and had it. He could have pursued a lucrative conservative international speaking career and made money.

Instead he’s decided to turn it all down and seek to become the local MP for the Northern beaches electorate of Warringah where he started 20 odd years ago and promised to work with the popular Liberal leader - Mike Baird - for the local people.

As far as Abbott’s pysche goes that’s about it. All the talk of him going to an ambassadorial posting or government appointment is gone. He’s probably still not even sure himself but the decision has been made and the challenges arising from it are clear.

The biggest test Turnbull faces, as has been the case from the moment he and Julie Bishop knocked off Abbott, is how he handles the conservative side of the Liberal Party and the growing sense of disillusion and fracture in the Liberal and National parties which could become much more than just being about Abbott’s leadership…..

There were attempts to “flush out” Abbott about his intentions as part of the move against his supporters in NSW - that’s failed dismally and Turnbull now faces a bigger challenge than he did just two weeks ago before the moves against so many conservative MPs got out of hand and took on a Party-wide significance.

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