Wednesday, 7 December 2011

In 1960 the Menzies Government decided to inflict Master Anthony John Abbott on the nation

While the Abbott legend makes much of his education, religion and politics, there is very little mention of his early family life.
So to fill this gap there’s a little potted family background included in this brief profile of that notorious discount immigrant Anthony John Abbott, Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia and Leader of the Opposition in the Australian Parliament.


At sixteen years of age Richard Henry Abbott, (Ernest Henry Abbott- father and Jane Elizabeth Abbott  née Keir - mother) arrived in Sydney, Australia on 17th January 1940 aboard the passenger ship Ulysses accompanied by his mother, four months after Britain declared war on Germany.


Richard's father Ernest, an English maritime engineer, appears to have been in Australia when war was declared and arranged for the family to reside in the vicinity of Newcastle port in New South Wales. {!%20Register%20Index%20Complete%20140121.xlsx}

As required by British law as a British citizen/subject Richard was called up in 1942.

ABBOTT RICHARD HENRY : Service Number - 422371 : Date of birth - 06 Jan 1924 : Place of birth - NEWCASTLE-ON-TYNE ENGLAND : Place of enlistment - SYDNEY : Next of Kin - ABBOTT ERNEST {}

Richard Abbott the former Newcastle-on-Tyne labourer, now a qualified dentist, returns to the U.K. with his mother Jane on 16th April 1954 aboard P&O Strathnaver. Intending to reside at Park West, Marble Arch W1 {}


Fay Peters

Father: Anthony Bredschneijder Peters, Carpenter. Born around 1907 in The Netherlands to Willemina Bredschneijder who arrived in Australia in 1912 and in 1916 married for a second time to Hendrik F. Peters in the District of Newtown NSW.

Mother:  Phyllis Irene Lacey. Born in Wales U.K. and in 1932 married Anthony Peters in the District of Waverly NSW.

“A PATIENT, Mrs. E. J.Hennessy, of Cessnock, with trainee Miss Fay Peters who is doing ward rounds after meal-time.” 1953

“ mother was born in Australia but gained British citizenship when she emigrated to the UK to marry old Richard Henry Abbott.”

On 5th November 1955 Fay Peters arrived in England at Tilbury aboard the the P&0 liner Himalaya, stating an intention to visit in the U.K. for 18 months. She gave her U.K. address at the time as Crosby Hall, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea.

Parents marry in England

On 12th January 1957 in the district Westminster in the county of London Fay Peters wed Richard H. Abbott.

Family arrives in Australia in 1960 after paying the princely sum of twenty pounds to emigrate from 5 Castlebar Road London to Australia

“ABBOTT Richard Henry born 6 January 1924; Fay (nee Peters) born 23 May 1933; Anthony John born 4 November 1957; Jane Elizabeth born 25 January 1959; travelled per ORONSAY departing Tilbury on 7 September 1960 under the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme” Intending to live with wife’s parents at Bronte, NSW.

Tony’s progress

“Abbott is the only son of Richard and Fay Abbott, of Killara on Sydney's upper North Shore. His father has one of the largest orthodontist practices in Australia and Tony Abbott was born into the privileged world of secondary education at St Ignatius College, Riverview, one of only eight Sydney GPS schools.” {
Sydney Morning Herald 27th March 1994}

“He graduated with a Bachelor of Economics (BEc) and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of Sydney where he resided at St John's College, and was president of the Student Representative Council. He gained media attention for his political stance opposing the then dominant left-wing student leadership. He was also a prominent student boxer. He then went on to attend the Queen's College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and graduated with a Master of Arts (MA) in Politics and Philosophy…..
When Abbott was 19, his girlfriend became pregnant and believed Abbott to be the biological father. She was keen to get married but when Abbott refused she left him seven months into her pregnancy. She later gave birth to a son and had him adopted….. DNA testing later revealed that Abbott was not the man's father.” {}

“JUSTIN RICKARD, FAMILY FRIEND: I don't actually recall ever meeting Tony because he's a little bit older than me, just a little bit, but I do recall dating his younger sister at university and even in those days Tony was spoken very highly of in his family, with great awe and respect, and the phrase "future PM" was often whispered or should I say yelled around the family table.” {

"In fact it was not until over twenty years after the family had arrived in Australia as subsidised assisted migrants that Tony Abbott’s parents applied to register his birth with the Dept. of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs and apply for his citizenship, in a document/s dated 19th June 1981.

This application appears to have been treated as urgent by departmental staff.

Although by now an adult, Tony Abbott did not attend any interview with the Dept. Immigration and Ethnic Affairs concerning this citizenship application according to an internal memo signed by a migration officer and held in the National Archives of Australia.

His parents were subsequently informed in a letter dated 1st July 1981 that Anthony John Abbott was now deemed to be an Australian citizen under Section 11 of the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 which allowed citizenship by descent, based on his mother's evidence of her own citizenship.

At this time Tony Abbott was 23 years and 7 months of age and, had either applied for a Rhodes Scholarship or was intending to apply for this scholarship to study at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Currently such applications must be applied for after 1 June in the year a Rhodes Scholarship is on offer.

To gain a Rhodes Scholarship in 1981 an applicant has to be an Australian citizen (British subject) who has been resident in Australia for at least five years. In that year the scholarship was worth approximately £3,000.

Tony Abbott was apparently intending to depart Australia on or about 10th July 1981 and, started his scholarship course at Queens College, Oxford, in October 1981" {}

Oxford academic record


Financial status

When Tony Abbott was twelve years old his parents set up a company, EATONWEST PTY LTD, which acted as trustee for a family trust in which he may have been a beneficiary. The company was deregistered in 2004.

In 1993 Tony and Margie Abbott purchased 184 Fox Valley Road, Wahroonga for $237,000 and sold it in 1994 for $250,000, in order to purchase 32 Lady Davidson Circuit, Forestville, NSW the current family home. {}

Abbott was elected as the Liberal Member of House of Representatives for Warringah in a federal by-election on 26 March 1994. He spent just under two years on the back benches before he began to receive ministerial appointments. {}

The Howard Government lost the 2007 federal election and Abbott went from being a government minister to being an opposition MP. Apparently unwilling to alter his life-style after he was appointed a shadow minister in December 2007, he appears to have entered into a shared equity loan arrangement - possibly in 2008 or 2009 when the Rudd Labor Government was supporting these loans through investment by the Australian Office of Financial Management in the very financial institution listed in his mandatory declarations found in the Register of Members' Interests when he finally entered the details in mid-2010.

In the Register of Members’ Interests Abbott also lists his spouse as holding an unspecified number of shares in General Gold Resources Inc. In 2007 he listed these shares as General Gold Resources NL. However, this West Australia mining corporation changed its name in July 2002 to General Gold Resources Limited and a month later to Yilgarn Gold Limited. At some later date it again changed its name to Kairiki Energy Limited. The company is currently listed on the Australian Stock Exchange as a gold mining, petroleum, exploration and investment company operating in Australia and the Philippines. As at 19th September 2013 it had 3,988 shareholders with 2,983,363,837 shares on issue. {}

Abbott became Leader of the Opposition on 1st December 2009 and became prime minister when the Coalition won government in September 2013. As of 1 July 2013 an Australian prime minister was paid a salary of $507,338 per annum plus parliamentary allowances and entitlements. {}

Dual citizenship controversy

Because Tony Abbott was born in London U.K. before 1st January 1983 and had a British father he automatically became a British citizen at birth. 

No person holding dual citizenship can lawfully be a senator or member of the Australian Parliament.{}

In March 2014 a Mr. Tony Magrathea entered into correspondence with Oxford University concerning the possibility that Abbott held dual citizenship.


Doubts about whether Abbott ever renounced his British citizenship remain and "Ninemsn contacted the Prime Minister's Office and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet seeking confirmation that Mr Abbott has renounced his British Citizenship. After a three-hour wait, the office replied with this single-sentence statement: "The Prime Minister is an Australian citizen and does not hold citizenship of any other country." {Channel 9 News 2nd September 2014}

The Sun Herald expanded on this news item with “An online petition with more than 5400 signatories has called on Mr Abbott, who was born in London to a British father, to produce his British citizenship renunciation form. A spokesman for Mr Abbott last night would say only: “The Prime Minister is an Australian citizen and he does not hold citizenship of any other country.”
His office refused to provide documents verifying this and would not say if Mr Abbott had renounced British citizenship.” {Herald Sun 3rd September 2014}

Political career

Parliamentary service
Elected to the House of Representatives for Warringah, New South Wales at by-election 26.3.1994 vice the Hon. MJR MacKellar (resigned). Re-elected 1996, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013.

Ministerial appointments
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs from 11.3.96 to 21.10.98.
Minister for Employment Services from 21.10.98 to 30.1.01.
Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business from 30.1.01 to 26.11.01.
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations from 26.11.01 to 7.10.03.
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service from 26.11.01 to 7.10.03.
Minister for Health and Ageing from 7.10.03 to 3.12.07.
Prime Minister from 18.9.13 to 15.9.15.

Committee service
House of Representatives Standing: Banking, Finance and Public Administration from 5.5.94 to 29.1.96; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs from 11.3.08 to 3.2.10; Family, Community, Housing and Youth from 11.3.08 to 3.2.10.

Parliamentary party positions
Leader of the House from 12.2.02 to 17.10.07.
Member, Opposition Shadow Ministry from 6.12.07 to 18.9.13. Shadow Minister for Families, Community Services, Indigenous Affairs and the Voluntary Sector from 6.12.07 to 22.9.08; Shadow Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs from 22.9.08 to 1.12.09.
Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party from 1.12.09 to 14.9.15.
Leader of the Opposition from 1.12.09 to 18.9.13.

On 14th September 2015 a federal party room meeting of Liberal Party MPs and senators removed Abbott as leader of the parliamentary party and, in a 44 to 54 vote installed Malcolm Bligh Turnbull as prime minister. Abbott had been Australian prime minister for only seven hundred and twenty-six days.

A broad consensus emerged in the Australian media in relation to Abbott's term in office, which is encapsulated in this 19th September 2015 quote:

“Abbott governed for the past and the few conservatives desperate to continue living there. He governed against science and in contempt of the environment. He governed in opposition to social equality, in terror of reform. His was a government of fear and avoidance, a rolling sideshow anxiously avoiding the fact it had nothing to add and no idea what to do.”

Tony’s 'bon mots'

“I think that it’s very important that we empower people to reject this kind of rampant sensuality.” 

"I find it difficult enough staying faithful to the one woman for the rest of my life" 

“I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think are both, they both need to be moderated, so to speak.”

“I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons”

Tony Abbott the politician with his parents

“Mr Richard Henry Abbott & Mrs Fay Abbott
8 Collins Road ST IVES NSW 2075”

# This post is updated whenever further information is found