Defiant Tony Abbott says he could be Australian PM again

Defiant Tony Abbott says he could be Australian PM again, by Brad Norington.

Tony Abbott is open to pushing for a position on the Coalition’s frontbench after next year’s election, and does not rule out eventually returning as party leader and prime minister.

“I don’t rule any of those things out,” Mr Abbott said. “I’m 61, which is not old. I’m Australia’s best-known backbencher.” …

Tony Abbott

Refusing to accept blame for Mr Turnbull’s downfall as prime minister, Mr Abbott said Mr Turnbull was the “real author of his demise” by persisting too long with a national energy guarantee policy that lacked overwhelming partyroom support, and then “bunging on a (leadership) spill motion he didn’t have to”.

He said Mr Morrison had for a variety of reasons not made “crystal clear” why there had been a change of leadership, but it was clear Mr Turnbull’s failing was wanting to turn the Liberals from a centre-right to a centre-left party.

He wanted to turn us into Labor without the unions, and I think that is unacceptable to the vast majority of Liberal Party members. Our job is to be a party of the sensible right, not a pale imitation of Labor.” ….

Referring to his own record, Mr Abbott said he was the only Liberal leader apart from Robert Menzies, John Howard and Malcolm Fraser to take the Coalition from opposition into government.

“This idea I somehow let down the party is bollocks,” he said. …

Mr Abbott faces a co-ordinated campaign against him in Warringah led by the GetUp activist group.