Tony Abbott

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Tony Abbott as Prime Minister of Australia, addressing the United Nations General Assembly in 2014.

Tony Abbott (born 4 November 1957) is an Australian politician who was the Prime Minister of Australia (18 September 2013 to 15 September 2015) and federal leader of the centre-right Liberal Party of Australia (2009 to 2015).



University days

  • 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.
    • SRC (Students Representative Council) student paper, Sydney University, 1979.
    • Quoted in ABC Four Corners, "The Authentic Mr Abbott" on, March 15, 2010.

First speech to Parliament


Tony Abbott was elected as the Member for Warringah in the Australian Parliament in 1994. The following quotes are from the First speech of Tony Abbott to Australian Parliament:

Australia's story -
  • I want to record my deep conviction that our Australian story should fill our hearts with pride and our eyes with tears. It is a story of the dispossessed and the outcast, redeemed through the innate goodness of humanity—a society challenged by nature, tested by war, enlarged by other cultures and blessed by such peace, prosperity and tolerance that we are now the envy of the earth.
Role of government -
  • I stand for active government, not big government. I stand for government which gets off people's backs, not government which opts out of the future because it cannot face hard decisions. I stand for government which backs Australia's families with real policies and not just platitudes.
  • Australians rightly object to higher taxes because they observe that most government spending disappears down a bottomless well. Government often seems like an evening out—it costs a fortune and in the morning there is little to show for all the expense. But it is my hunch that people would be less hostile to paying tax if they were more confident they were investing in lasting assets...
Influences on his public life -
  • Mr Speaker, standing before you in this chamber, which is heir to 700 years of parliamentary tradition, I feel like a very small boy in a very big school. To my parents and to my grandparents; to my sisters, who have made me what I am; to my wife, my mainstay; to my priceless friends; to my party, which has given me the privilege to serve, I give my heartfelt thanks. To the Jesuits who first encouraged an ideal of public service; to Bob Santamaria, who sparked my interest in politics; to several editors, who honed my way with words; to John Hewson, who introduced me to this place; and to John Howard, who has been the contemporary politician I admire most, I hope I can be true to the principles you taught. May God and the ghosts of great men give me strength. May those who have laboured greatly to build this nation fortify my resolve to make a worthy contribution in this House.

Minister in the Howard Government (1996-2007)


The Howard Government came to power in 1996. Abbott was a Parliamentary Secretary in the Howard Government from 1996-1998 and joined the Ministry in 1998. He then served in a variety of portfolios until the the defeat of the Howard Government in 2007.

Bad boss like a bad father -
  • If we’re honest, most of us would accept that a bad boss is a little bit like a bad father or a bad husband. Not withstanding all his or her faults, you find that he tends to do more good than harm. He might be a bad boss but at least he’s employing someone while he is in fact a boss.
Abortion -
  • "I want to make it clear I do not judge or condemn any woman who has had an abortion. There would not be anyone under 50 in this country who has not come up close and personal against this issue. I accept that resolutions made in church often wilt under the hot breath of passion - I think I know that as well as any person in this chamber - but every abortion is a tragedy and up to 100,000 abortions a year is this generation's legacy of unutterable shame."
Cervical cancer -
  • I won't be rushing out to get my daughters vaccinated [for cervical cancer], maybe that's because I'm a cruel, callow, callous, heartless bastard but, look, I won't be
Cardinal George Pell -
  • Cardinal Pell is one of the greatest churchmen that Australia has seen. I am a very imperfect Catholic. Why shouldn't I go and seek counsel? Why shouldn't I go and trespass on the time occasionally of someone like Cardinal Pell? If you spent more time with Cardinal Pell, your life might be more interesting.
Bernie Banton -
Nicola Roxon

Shadow Minister (2007-2009)

Climate change policy -
  • I am, as you know, hugely unconvinced by the so-called settled science on climate change... and I think that the economics of an ETS are a bit dodgy... [but] whatever second thoughts people like me might be having, I don't think it's a good look for the Opposition to be browner than Howard going into the (2010) election.
  • If you want to put a price on carbon, why not just do it with a simple tax?
    • Originally stated in an interview with Sky News and Subsequently quoted in " on, July 15, 2009
  • "The argument is absolute crap. However, the politics of this are tough for us. Eighty per cent of people believe climate change is a real and present danger."
  • 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 they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak.
Young people and political correctness -

Leader of the Opposition (2009-2015)

Asylum seeker policy -
  • "John Howard found a problem and created a solution. Kevin Rudd found a solution and has now created a problem"
    • Lateline Interview, ABC TV, 27 Oct 2009, discussing the Labor Party's asylum seeker policies.
  • Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.
  • These people aren’t so much seeking asylum, they’re seeking permanent residency. If they were happy with temporary protection visas, then they might be able to argue better that they were asylum seekers
  • All of the boats in question were in the Indonesian search and rescue zone and I want the fullest possible cooperation between Indonesia and Australia in places where Indonesia has, if you like, the legal responsibility under the law of the sea, but Australia has more practical capacity to help.
  • Indonesia is a country for which I have a great deal of respect and personal affection based on my own time in Indonesia. I want nothing, but the best for Indonesia, and I certainly want, Leigh, I certainly want the boats stopped and that is overwhelmingly in the interests of both our countries.
Climate change and climate change policy -
Carbon tax
Asked for advice on virginity -
  • I think I would say to my daughters if they were to ask me this question... it [their virginity] is the greatest gift that you can give someone, the ultimate gift of giving and don't give it to someone lightly, that's what I would say.
Separating religion from politics -
  • We are all influenced by a value system that we hold, but in the end, every decision that a politician makes is, or at least should, in our society be based on the normal sorts of considerations. It's got to be publicly justifiable; not only justifiable in accordance with a private view; a private belief.
Homosexuality -
  • I probably feel a bit threatened, as so many people do... look, it is a fact of life and I try to treat people as people, and not put them in pigeonholes.
    • Interview with Liz Hayes for 60 Minutes, when asked how he felt about homosexuality, quoted in Quoted in The Daily Telegraph, 8 Mar, 2010.
  • Well, there is no doubt that (homosexuality) challenges, if you like, orthodox notions of the right order of things, but as I also said on the program, it happens, it's a fact of life and we have to treat people as we find them.
Pollie pedal charity
  • (The pollie pedal charity fundraiser is) an opportunity to stop at lots of little towns along the way where people probably never see or don't very often see a federal member of Parliament.
Foreign policy -
Industrial relations -
Indigenous affairs -
Same-sex marriage -
  • The love and commitment between two people of the same sex can be as strong as that between husband and wife... There is more moral quality in a relationship between two people devoted to each other for decades than in many a short-lived marriage. Still, however deeply affectionate or long lasting it may be, the relationship between two people of the same sex cannot be a marriage because a marriage, by definition, is between a man and a woman... Let's celebrate all strong relationships, whether they are between a man and a woman or between people of the same sex but let's be careful about describing every lasting sexual bond as a 'marriage'."
Other topics -
  • I know politicians are going to be judged on everything they say but sometimes in the heat of discussion you go a little bit further than you would if it was an absolutely calm, considered, prepared, scripted remark. The statements that need to be taken absolutely as gospel truth are those carefully prepared scripted remarks.
  • While I think men and women are equal, they are also different and I think it's inevitable and I don't think it's a bad thing at all that we always have, say, more women doing things like physiotherapy and an enormous number of women simply doing housework
  • It's pretty obvious that, well, sometimes shit happens, doesn't it?
    • From a private exchange with field commanders in Afghanistan confirming the death of Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney had not resulted from a lack of support. Quoted in the The Australian, "Private Chat turns Into A War-Zone", February 10, 2011
  • My commitment to the forgotten families of Australia is to ease your cost-of-living pressure. Stopping wasteful and unnecessary spending will keep your interest rates down.
  • The Jesuits had helped to instil in me this thought that our calling in life was to be, to use the phrase: 'a man for others'.
    • Interview with Annabel Crabb, Kitchen Cabinet, ABC Television 4 September 2013.
  • No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS
  • This government thinks that somehow you can build prosperity with new taxes. No country ever got rich by increasing taxation. No country ever built a strong economy by clobbering itself with tax after tax after tax.
  • There is one fundamental message that we want to go out from this place to every nook and cranny of our country: There should be no new tax collection without an election.
  • Climate change is by no means the sole or even the most significant symptom of the changing interests and values of the West. Still, only societies with high levels of cultural amnesia – that have forgotten the scriptures about man created 'in the image and likeness of God' and charged with 'subduing the earth and all its creatures' – could have made such a religion out of it.
  • Rootless, cosmopolitan intellectuals parading their moral superiority, or masters of high finance dressing up self-interest as economic correctness, are not for him.

Battlelines book, (2013)


Battlelines by Tony Abbott 2013 Election Edition; Melbourne University Press.

  • For me, as for every leader of the Liberal Party, encouragement for the family, support for small business and respect for values and institutions that have stood the test of time are at the heart of my public life.
    • Page vii of Tony Abbott's introduction to 2013 edition of his book Battlelines.
  • Even the toughest politicians sometimes wonder whether political life is worth the personal cost.
    • p. 4.
  • I have often pondered the psychology of people who seem uncomfortable with the society that has formed them. There is much about Australia I would like to change, but not its fundamentals.
    • p. 6.
  • Only on the sports field are the British an alien tribe.
    • p.8.
  • In politics, what's not reported might as well not have happened.
    • p.13

Backbencher in Turnbull Government (2015-2018)


The religion of Islam must reform, speech (December 9, 2015)

The religion of Islam must reform, The Daily Telegraph (December 9, 2015)
  • Dealing with terrorism and the Islamist fanaticism that inspires it is the great challenge of our time. Obviously there needs to be a very strong security response at home and abroad.
  • The security response is necessary but it’s not sufficient. There also needs to be a concerted “hearts and minds” campaign against the versions of Islam that make excuses for terrorists.
  • Although most Muslims utterly reject terrorism, some are all too ready to justify “death to the infidel”.
  • We can’t remain in denial about the massive problem within Islam.
  • Islam needs to delegitimise the urge to “behead all those who insult the Prophet” but only Muslims can do this. That’s why everyone interested in a safer world should be reaching out to “live and let live” Muslims and encouraging them to reclaim their faith from the zealots.
  • It’s also time Australians stopped being apologetic about the values that have made our country as free, fair and prosperous as any on Earth.
  • Cultures are not all equal. We should be ready to proclaim the clear superiority of our culture to one that justifies killing people in the name of God.

Indigenous Envoy in Morrison Government (2018-2019)

  • To live in Australia is to have won the lottery of life — unless you happen to be one of those whose ancestors have been here for tens of thousands of years. That’s the Australian paradox. Vast numbers of people from around the world would risk death to be here, yet the First Australians often live in the conditions that people come to Australia to escape. We are the very best of countries, except for the people who were here first.
  • We need to attract and retain better teachers to remote schools. And we need to empower remote community leadership that’s ready to take more responsibility for what happens there. The objective is not to dictate to the states their decisions about teachers’ pay but to work with them so that whatever they do is more effective. It’s not to impose new rules on remote communities but to work with local leaders who want change for the better.
  • However long my public life lasts — in government or out of it, in parliament or out of it — I intend to persevere in this cause. Some missions, once accepted, can never really cease. Of course, the future for Aboriginal people lies much more in their own hands than in mine, but getting more of them to school, and making their schooling more useful, is a duty that government must not shirk. An ex-PM has just one unique trait, and that’s a very big megaphone, and I will continue to use it to see this done.

Post-Parliament (2019-)

  • [Victoria] "responded to with the most severe lockdown tried anywhere in the world outside of Wuhan itself".
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