|Birth Day:||November 4, 1957|
|Birth Place:||London, England|
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He worked as a journalist for multiple print publications including The Bulletin and The Australian. He also worked as a plant manager and a press secretary.
Abbott was born on 4 November 1957 at the General Lying-In Hospital in Lambeth, London, England. He is the oldest of four children born to Fay (née Peters; b. 1933) and Richard Henry "Dick" Abbott (1924–2017). He has three younger sisters, including Christine Forster, who has also been involved in politics. His mother was born in Sydney, while his father was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
On 7 September 1960, Abbott, his parents, and younger sister Jane, left the UK for Australia on the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme ship SS Oronsay. Settling in Sydney, the family first lived in the suburb of Bronte and later moved to Chatswood. Dick Abbott established what was to become one of the largest orthodontics practices in Australia, retiring in 2002.
During his university days, Abbott gained media attention for political opposition to the then dominant left-wing student leadership. Once he was violently beaten at a university conference. A student newspaper editor with political views opposed to those of Abbott took him to court for indecent assault after he touched her during a student debate; the charges were dismissed by the court. According to the Sun-Herald newspaper, it was "an ugly and often violent time", and Abbott's tactics in student politics were like "an aggressive terrier". Abbott organised rallies in support of Governor-General John Kerr after he dismissed the Whitlam Government in November 1975, as well as a pro-Falklands War demonstration during his time at Oxford. At St. Ignatius College, Abbott had been taught and influenced by the Jesuits. At university, he encountered B. A. Santamaria, a Catholic layman who led a movement against Communism within the Australian labour movement in the 1950s, culminating in the 1955 Labor Party split and the formation of the Democratic Labor Party. Santamaria has been described as Abbott's "political hero". He wrote the foreword to a novelisation of Santamaria's life written by Alan Reid, and in 2015 launched a biography of Santamaria written by Gerard Henderson.
Abbott attended primary school at St Aloysius' College at Milson's Point, before completing his secondary school education at St Ignatius' College, Riverview, both Jesuit schools. He graduated with a Bachelor of Economics (BEc) in 1979 and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in 1981 from the University of Sydney. He resided at St John's College and was president of the Student Representative Council. Influenced by his chaplain at St Ignatius', Father Emmet Costello, he then attended The Queen's College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar, where in June 1983 he graduated as a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and on 21 October 1989 proceeded by seniority to Master of Arts.
At birth, Abbott was a British citizen by birth in the UK and by descent from his British-born father. He did not hold Australian citizenship from birth, as at the time Australian citizenship by descent could only be acquired from the father. Abbott became a naturalised Australian citizen on 26 June 1981, apparently so as to become eligible for a Rhodes scholarship. On 12 October 1993, he renounced his British citizenship to be eligible to run for parliament under section 44 of the constitution.
Following his time in Britain, Abbott returned to Australia and told his family of his intention to join the priesthood. In 1984 at the age of 26, he entered St Patrick's Seminary, Manly. Abbott did not complete his studies at the seminary, leaving the institution in 1987. Interviewed prior to the 2013 election, Abbott said of his time as a trainee priest: "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'. And I thought then that the best way in which I could be a 'man for others' was to become a priest. I discovered pretty soon that I was a bit of a square peg in a round hole … eventually working out that, I'm afraid, I just didn't have what it took to be an effective priest."
Despite his conservative leanings, Abbott acknowledged he voted for Labor in the 1988 NSW state election as he thought that "Barrie Unsworth was the best deal Premier that New South Wales had ever had". Nevertheless, Abbott then clarified that he has never voted for Labor in a federal election.
Prime Minister John Howard wrote in his autobiography that Abbott considered working on his staff prior to accepting the position with The Bulletin, and it was on Howard's recommendation that Hewson engaged Abbott. According to Howard, he and Abbott established a good rapport, but Hewson and Abbott fell out shortly before the 1993 election, and Abbott ended up in search of work following the re-election of the Keating Government. He was approached to head Australians for Constitutional Monarchy (ACM), the main group organising support for the maintenance of the Monarchy in Australia amidst the Keating Government's campaign for a change to a republic. Abbott renounced his British citizenship in 1993. Between 1993 and 1994, Abbott served as Executive Director of ACM. According to biographer Michael Duffy, Abbott's involvement with ACM "strengthened his relationship with John Howard, who in 1994 suggested he seek pre-selection for a by-election in the seat of Warringah". Howard provided a glowing reference and Abbott won pre-selection for the safe Liberal seat.
Abbott won Liberal preselection for the federal Division of Warringah by-election in March 1994 following the resignation of Michael MacKellar. He easily held the safe Liberal seat in the Liberals' traditional Northern Beaches heartland, suffering a swing of only 1 percentage point in the primary vote. He easily won the seat in his own right at the 1996 general election. Before 2019, he only dropped below 59 percent of the two-party vote once, in 2001; that year independent Peter Macdonald, the former member for the state seat of Manly, held Abbott to only 55 percent.
In 1998, Abbott established a trust fund called "Australians for Honest Politics Trust" to help bankroll civil court cases against the One Nation Party and its leader Pauline Hanson. Prime Minister John Howard denied any knowledge of existence of such a fund. Abbott was also accused of offering funds to One Nation dissident Terry Sharples to support his court battle against the party. However, Howard defended the honesty of Abbott in this matter. Abbott conceded that the political threat One Nation posed to the Howard Government was "a very big factor" in his decision to pursue the legal attack, but he also claimed to be acting "in Australia's national interest". Howard also defended Abbott's actions saying "It's the job of the Liberal Party to politically attack other parties – there's nothing wrong with that."
When Abbott was promoted to the Cabinet in 1998, Prime Minister Howard described him as an effective performer with an endearing style, whereas the Opposition described him as a "bomb thrower." Howard appointed Abbott to replace Kay Patterson as Minister for Health in 2003, during a period of contentious Medicare reform and a crisis in Medical indemnity Insurance, in which the price of insurance was forcing doctors out of practice. The Australian Medical Association was threatening to pull out all Australian doctors. Abbott worked with the states to address the crisis and keep the system running.
The Liberal Party allowed members a free choice in the 1999 republic referendum. Abbott was one of the leading voices within the party campaigning for the successful "No" vote, pitting him against future parliamentary colleague and leading republican Malcolm Turnbull.
When Abbott was 22, his girlfriend at the time became pregnant and claimed he was the biological father. The couple did not marry and put the child up for adoption. For 27 years, Abbott believed that he was the father of the child. In 2004, the man sought out Abbott, and it was publicly revealed he was an ABC sound recordist who worked in Parliament House, Canberra, and was involved in making television programs in which Abbott appeared. The story was reported around the world, but DNA testing later revealed that Abbott was not the man's father.
In 2005, Abbott was holidaying with his family in Bali when the Bali bombings occurred. Abbott visited the victims of the bombings in hospital, and in his capacity as Health Minister organised for Australians who required lifesaving emergency surgery and hospitalisation to be flown to Singapore.
In 2006, Abbott controversially opposed access to the abortion drug RU486, and the Parliament voted to strip Health Ministers of the power to regulate this area of policy. During this time, Abbott likened the act of having an abortion to committing a murder, saying "we have a bizarre double standard, a bizarre double standard in this country where someone who kills a pregnant woman's baby is guilty of murder but a woman who aborts an unborn baby is simply exercising choice".
Abbott introduced the Medicare Safety Net to cap the annual out-of-pocket costs of Medicare cardholders to a maximum amount. In 2007, he attracted criticism over long delays in funding for cancer diagnostic equipment (PET scanners).
The Coalition lost government in 2007 and Abbott was re-elected to the seat of Warringah with a 1.8% swing toward the Labor Party. Following Peter Costello's rejection of the leadership of the Parliamentary Liberal Party, Abbott nominated for the position of party leader, along with Malcolm Turnbull and Brendan Nelson. After canvassing the support of his colleagues, Abbott decided to withdraw his nomination. He seemingly did not have the numbers, noting that he was "obviously very closely identified with the outgoing prime minister." He said he would not rule out contesting the leadership at some time in the future. Of the three candidates, Abbott was the only one who had previous experience in Opposition. Nelson was elected Liberal leader in December 2007 and Abbott was assigned the Shadow Portfolio of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. As indigenous affairs spokesman, Abbott said that it had been a mistake for the Howard Government not to offer a national apology to the Stolen Generations; spent time teaching at remote Aboriginal communities; and argued for the Rudd Government to continue the Northern Territory National Emergency Response which restricted alcohol and introduced conditional welfare in certain Aboriginal communities.
Abbott participates in the Pollie Pedal, an annual 1,000 km charity bike ride. In April 2007, he launched the tenth annual Pollie Pedal, to raise money for breast cancer research.
As an Opposition front bencher in 2008 Abbott wrote: "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'." The First Rudd Government and Gillard Government held similar views (although the short-lived second Rudd government reversed Labor's position on the issue).
In 2008, Abbott spent three weeks teaching in a remote Aboriginal settlement in Coen on Cape York, organised through indigenous leader Noel Pearson. He taught remedial reading to Aboriginal children and worked with an income management group helping families manage their welfare payments. In 2009, he spent 10 days in Aurukun on Cape York working with the truancy team, visiting children who had not been attending school. Abbott's stated goal for these visits was to familiarise himself with indigenous issues.
During November 2009, Abbott resigned from shadow ministerial responsibilities due to the Liberal Party's position on the Rudd Government's Emissions trading Scheme (ETS), leading to the resignation of other shadow ministers.
On 1 December 2009, Abbott was elected to the position of Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia over Turnbull and Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey. Abbott proposed blocking the government's ETS in the Senate whereas Turnbull sought to amend the bill which the majority of the Liberal Party did not support. Abbott named his Shadow Cabinet on 8 December 2009.
Prior to becoming Opposition Leader, Abbott initially supported proposals by Liberal leaders Howard and Turnbull to introduce floating prices to reduce carbon emissions, but also expressed some doubts as to the science and economics underlying such initiatives. In 2009, Abbott announced his opposition to Turnbull's support for the Rudd Government's Emissions Trading Scheme proposal, and successfully challenged Turnbull for the Liberal leadership, chiefly over this issue. As Opposition Leader, Abbott declared that he accepted that climate change was real and that humans were having an impact on it, but rejected carbon pricing as a means to address the issue, proposing instead to match the Labor government's 5% emissions reduction target through implementation of a plan involving financial incentives for emissions reductions by industry, and support for carbon storage in soils and expanded forests. On the eve of the 2013 Election, Abbott told the ABC:
Prior to becoming Opposition Leader in November 2009, Abbott questioned the science of climate change and an ETS. In November 2009, Abbott outlined his objections to the Rudd Government's carbon pricing plan on the ABC's Lateline program. Upon becoming Leader of the Opposition, Abbott put the question of support for the Government's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) to a secret ballot and the Liberal Party voted to reject the policy – overturning an undertaking by Turnbull to support an amended version of the government's scheme. Under Abbott, the Coalition joined the Greens and voted against the CPRS in the Senate, and the bill was defeated twice, providing a double dissolution trigger. The Rudd government eventually deferred its CPRS legislation until 2013.
In his 2009 book Battlelines, Abbott proposed that consideration should be given to a return to an optional at-fault divorce agreement between couples who would like it, similar to the Matrimonial Causes Act, which would require spouses to prove offences like adultery, habitual drunkenness, cruelty, desertion, or a five-year separation before a divorce would be granted. Abbott said that this would be a way of "providing additional recognition to what might be thought of as traditional marriage".
Abbott has published four books. In 2009, he launched Battlelines; a personal biography, reflections on the Howard Government and discussion of potential policy directions for the Liberal Party of Australia. Previously he had published two books in defence of the existing constitutional monarchy system, The Minimal Monarchy and How to Win the Constitutional War. In 2012, he released a compilation of key speeches from that year, entitled A Strong Australia.
According to Sydney Morning Herald's political editor, Peter Hartcher, prior to the defeat of the Howard Government at the 2007 election, Abbott had opposed the government's centrepiece WorkChoices industrial relations deregulation reform in Cabinet, on the basis that the legislation exceeded the government's mandate, was harsh on workers, and was politically dangerous to the government. John Howard wrote in his 2010 autobiography that Abbott was "never a zealot about pursuing industrial relations changes" and expressed "concern about making too many changes" during Cabinet's discussion of WorkChoices.
In a 60 Minutes interview aired on 7 March 2010, Abbott was asked: "Homosexuality? How do you feel about that?". He replied: "I'd probably feel a bit threatened … it's a fact of life and I try to treat people as people and not put them in pigeonholes." In later interviews Abbott apologised for the remark. In 2013, Abbott stated on 3AW that if his sister Christine Forster were to have a marriage ceremony with her partner Virginia he would attend.
In March 2010, Abbott, announced a new policy initiative to provide for six months paid parental leave, funded by an increase in corporate tax by 1.7 percentage points on all taxable company income above $5 million. Business groups and the government opposed the plan, however it won support from the Australian Greens.
While Opposition Spokesman for Indigenous Affairs, Abbott spent time in remote Cape York Aboriginal communities as a teacher, organised through prominent indigenous activist Noel Pearson. Abbott repeatedly spoke of his admiration for Pearson, and in March 2010, introduced the Wild Rivers (Environmental Management) Bill to Parliament in support of Pearson's campaign to overturn the Queensland government's Wild Rivers legislation. Abbott and Pearson believed that the Queensland law would 'block the economic development' of indigenous land, and interfere with Aboriginal land rights.
Abbott completed an Ironman Triathlon event in March 2010 at Port Macquarie, New South Wales. In April he set out on a 9-day charity bike ride between Melbourne and Sydney, the annual Pollie Pedal, generating political debate about whether he should have committed so much time to physical fitness. Abbott described the events as 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."
On 24 June 2010, Julia Gillard replaced Kevin Rudd as Australian Labor Party leader and Prime Minister. The replacement of a first-term Prime Minister was unusual in Australian political history and the Rudd-Gillard rivalry remained a vexed issue for the Gillard Government into the 2010 election and its subsequent term. On 17 July, Gillard called the 2010 federal election for 21 August. Polls in the first week gave a view that Labor would be re-elected with an increased majority, with Newspoll and an Essential poll showing a lead of 10 points (55–45) two party preferred.
During negotiations, the Independents requested that both major parties' policies be costed by the apolitical Australian Treasury. The Coalition initially resisted the idea, citing concerns over Treasury leaks, however they eventually allowed the analysis. Treasury endorsed Labor's budget costings but projected that Coalition policies would add between $860 million and $4.5 billion to the bottom line over the next four years, rather than the $11.5 billion projected by the Coalition. The close result was lauded by former Prime Minister John Howard, who wrote in 2010 that Abbott had shifted the dynamic of Australian politics after coming to the leadership in 2009 and "deserves hero status among Liberals".
Following the 2010 election, Abbott and his deputy, Julie Bishop, were re-elected unopposed as leaders of the Liberal Party. Abbott announced his shadow ministry on 14 September, with few changes to senior positions, but with the return of former leadership rival Malcolm Turnbull, whom he selected as Communications spokesman. Abbott announced that he wanted Turnbull to prosecute the Opposition's case against the Gillard Government's proposed expenditure on a National Broadband Network.
While the Coalition and Labor were engaged in negotiations with crossbenchers to obtain minority government in 2010, Noel Pearson lobbied Rob Oakeshott to back Abbott. Rising to support the passage of the Gillard Government's historic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Bill through the House of Representatives in 2013, Abbott said:
Abbott was opposed to a majority Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH) National Broadband Network (NBN). In 2010, as Leader of the Opposition, Abbott stated that he would "ferociously" hold the Labor government to account over what he believed to be "a white elephant on a massive scale" and would "demolish" the NBN.
In 2010, Abbott argued that an LTE network could meet Australia's future broadband needs, with "a tower on every street corner"
As a former Catholic seminarian, Abbott's religiosity has come to national attention and journalists have often sought his views on the role of religion in politics. According to John Warhurst of the Australian National University, academics have at times placed an "exaggerated concentration on the religious affiliation and personal religious background of just one of [the Howard government's] senior ministers, Tony Abbott." Journalist Michelle Grattan wrote in 2010 that while Abbott has always "worn his Catholicism on his sleeve", he is "clearly frustrated by the obsession with [it] and what might hang off that". Abbott has said that a politician should not rely on religion to justify a political point of view:
In February 2011, Abbott criticised the Gillard government's handling of health reform and proposal for a 50–50 public hospitals funding arrangement with the states and territories, describing the revised Labor Party proposal as "the biggest surrender since Singapore". Although Abbott had previously stated that he considered a carbon tax the best way to set a price on carbon, he opposed Prime Minister Gillard's February 2011 announcement of a proposal for the introduction of a "carbon tax", and called on her to take the issue to an election. Abbott said that Gillard had lied to the electorate over the issue because Gillard and her Treasurer Wayne Swan had ruled out the introduction of a carbon tax in the lead up to the 2010 election.
In April 2011, Abbott proposed consultation with Indigenous people over a bipartisan Federal Government intervention in Northern Territory towns including Alice Springs, Katherine and Tennant Creek, which would cover such areas as police numbers and school attendance in an effort to address what he described as a "failed state" situation. April saw Abbott announce a $430 million policy plan to improve the employment prospects of people with serious mental health problems.
Following the first Gillard Government budget in May 2011, Abbott used his budget-reply speech to reiterate his critiques of government policy and call for an early election over the issue of a carbon tax. Rhetorically echoing Liberal party founder, Robert Menzies, Abbott addressed remarks to the "forgotten families".
In June 2011, Abbott for the first time led Gillard in a Newspoll as preferred Prime Minister. In September 2011, he announced a plan to develop an agricultural food bowl in the north of Australia by developing dams for irrigation and hydroelectricity. Coalition task force leader Andrew Robb claimed that Australia currently produced enough food for 60 million people, but that the Coalition plan could double this to 120 million people by 2040. The head of the Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce expressed concerns about the economic and environmental viability of this plan as well as its effects on the indigenous Australian communities in northern Australia.
In 2011, he called for the NBN to be scrapped entirely with funding diverted to assist with recovery efforts following the Queensland floods, stating "The National Broadband Network is a luxury that Australia cannot now afford. The one thing you don’t do is redo your bathroom when your roof has just been blown off."
Reflecting on indigenous issues on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on Australia Day 2012, Abbott said that there had been many positive developments in indigenous affairs in recent decades including Rudd's apology and moves to include indigenous Australians in the Australian Constitution. Later that day, Abbott became the target of protesters from the "Embassy" after one of Gillard's advisers contacted a union official who advised Tent Embassy protesters of Abbott's whereabouts and misrepresented Abbott's views on Aboriginal affairs to them, saying he intended to "pull down" the embassy. A major security scare resulted, which was broadcast around the world, resulting in Gillard and Abbott being rushed to a government car amid a throng of security due to fears for their safety.
In an address to the National Press Club on 31 January 2012, Abbott outlined some of his plans for government if elected. These included an intent to live one week of every year in an indigenous Australian community, and to prune government expenditure and cut taxes. Abbott also announced "aspirational" targets for a disability insurance scheme and a subsidised dentistry program once the budget had been restored to "strong surplus".
In November 2012, Abbott launched his fourth book, A Strong Australia, a compilation of nine of his "landmark speeches" from 2012, including his budget reply and National Press Club addresses.
On 9 October 2012, Prime Minister Julia Gillard raised the questions of sexism and misogyny in a speech to Parliament that attacked Tony Abbott for misogyny and hypocrisy, a speech that became famous.
In November 2012, Abbott flew to Alice Springs to back Aboriginal Country Liberal Party MLA Alison Anderson to run in the federal seat of Lingiari and become the first indigenous woman to enter Parliament.
With Abbott as Opposition Leader, the Liberal party opposed a carbon emissions tax and an Emissions Trading Scheme. Abbott predicted in March 2012 that the Gillard government's carbon tax would be the world's "biggest". A January 2013 OECD report on taxation of energy use measured Australia's effective tax rate on carbon at 1 July 2012 as among the lower rates in the OECD. In July 2011, Abbott criticised the proposed powers of the government's carbon tax regulator.
At the federal election on 7 September 2013, Abbott led the Liberal/National coalition to victory over the incumbent Labor government, led by Kevin Rudd. Abbott and his ministry were sworn in on 18 September 2013. The Prime Minister was the subject of criticism for his decision to only include one woman, Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop, in his cabinet.
Abbott announced a Royal Commission into trade union governance and corruption on 11 February 2014. This was followed by amendments to the Fair Work Act, and a "Repeal Day", where more than 10,000 "red tape" regulations were repealed.
The Carbon Tax Repeal Bill passed both houses of Parliament on 17 July 2014 and the Mining Tax Repeal Bill passed both houses of Parliament on 2 September 2014 after negotiations with the Palmer United Party.
The 2014 Australian federal budget, the Abbott Government's first budget, delivered by Treasurer Joe Hockey, was criticised by the Opposition as "cruel" and "unfair" and a large number of budget saving measures were blocked by the crossbench in the Senate. Hockey and Abbott were both criticised for their inability to "sell" the necessity of the budget cuts to the cross bench or the public. Hockey was further criticised for several "out of touch" and "insensitive" comments in subsequent months, however, the prime minister continuously publicly backed the treasurer, refusing to replace him with a better performing minister.
On 25 March 2014, Abbott announced that he had advised the Queen to reinstate the knight and dame system of honours to the Order of Australia. Outgoing Governor-General Quentin Bryce and her successor, Peter Cosgrove, became the first recipients of the reinstated honours. Controversy ensued when Abbott announced on Australia Day 2015 that Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen's husband and a resident of the United Kingdom, would be appointed a Knight of the Order of Australia. This decision was widely criticised, including by members of the government, and fuelled speculation that the prime minister's leadership could be challenged. On 2 November 2015, new prime minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that knights and dames had been removed from the Order of Australia, as "not appropriate in our modern honours system", although existing titles would not be affected.
In March 2014, Abbott advised the Queen to reintroduce the grade of Knight/Dame to the Order of Australia, without discussing it in the Cabinet and despite stating in December 2013 that he did not plan to do so. The Fraser Government initially introduced the grade of Knight/Dame of the Order of Australia in 1976; the Hawke Government discontinued it in 1986.
On 6 February 2015, Liberal backbencher Luke Simpkins announced that he would move a motion, at a meeting of the party room, for a spill of the federal Liberal Party's leadership positions. Simpkins stated that such a motion would give Liberal members of parliament and senators the opportunity to either endorse the Prime Minister or "seek a new direction." The meeting was held on 9 February 2015 and the spill motion was defeated by 61 votes to 39. Both Malcolm Turnbull and deputy leader Julie Bishop were speculated to be considering a leadership run if the spill motion had succeeded. Prime Minister Abbott described the leadership motion as a "near death experience" and declared that "good government starts today", promising to consult his colleagues more, to shy away from his so-called "captain's calls" and to reduce the role of his chief of staff Peta Credlin.
Another of Abbott's "captain's calls", the appointment of former Howard Government minister Bronwyn Bishop as Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, caused controversy because of Bishop's partisan management of the House and for her decision to attend Liberal party room meetings despite the convention that the Speaker be impartial regardless of political alignment. Bishop came under intense media scrutiny in July 2015 after details of her use of taxpayer-funded political entitlements were made public, including chartering a helicopter flight between Melbourne and Geelong to attend a Liberal party fundraiser. Abbott was criticised over his handling of the entitlements scandal as he allowed the controversy to drag on for weeks because of his refusal to sack the Speaker, a close friend and political mentor. Despite Abbott's support, Bishop resigned as Speaker on 2 August 2015.
In Government Abbott reaffirmed that he did not support changing the law to recognise same-sex marriage, and did not alter Coalition policy on the issue – however he permitted Coalition members to advocate for change if they felt strongly on the issue, and indicated that if a bill were to come before the new parliament, the Coalition party room would discuss its stance on the issue. Opinion polls suggested growing support for change. On 11 August 2015, after renewed debate about same-sex marriage in Australia, Abbott called a Coalition Party room vote and Coalition MPs voted against allowing a free vote on the issue 66 to 33. Some MPs said they were willing to cross the floor on the issue and Abbott was criticised by some pro-gay marriage Liberal MPs, including Christopher Pyne, for holding the vote in the Coalition party room, rather than the Liberal party room (as the inclusion of National Party votes decreased chances of a pro-change outcome). To settle the issue, Abbott proposed a plebiscite following the next election. Although he remains personally opposed to change, he says Parliament should respect the outcome of the national vote on the issue.
On 14 September 2015, Malcolm Turnbull, the Minister for Communications, resigned and stated his intention to challenge the Liberal Party leadership in a leadership spill. A party-room meeting held that evening saw Abbott defeated by Turnbull on a 54–44 vote. According to The Economist, his demise was a result of poor opinion polling, policy U-turns and gaffes and mean-spirited politics. In comments just after the result was announced, Turnbull praised Abbott for his "formidable achievements" as prime minister.
Abbott's final speech as Prime Minister on 15 September 2015 did not address his political future. However, he announced the next day that he would remain in Parliament. Despite his promise of "no sniping" in his final speech as Prime Minister, media outlets reported ongoing sniping from the Abbott camp in the following months, particularly around Islamic issues. In early December 2015, Abbott said he would not make a decision on his political future until April 2016.
In August 2015, he disappointed Aboriginal leaders Patrick Dodson and Noel Pearson by rejecting as potentially divisive their request for the federal government to fund a series of Indigenous-only conventions on the wording for the referendum.
On 24 January 2016, Abbott confirmed that he would stand for Liberal preselection for the Division of Warringah in the 2016 federal election. He was re-elected with a small swing against him, matching the statewide swing against the Government.
In September 2017, Abbott was headbutted at a private event in Hobart, after the man asked to shake Abbott's hand. Astro Labe, 38, was later charged with common assault; he pleaded guilty in the Hobart Magistrates Court on 18 January 2018 and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment on 9 April 2018.
In October 2017, Abbott spoke in London at the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate-skeptic lobby group, where he described climate change as "probably doing good; or at least, more good than harm." He argued that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide act as "plant food" and "are actually greening the planet and helping to lift agricultural yields."
On 18 May 2019, during the federal election, Abbott lost his seat of Warringah to independent candidate and former Olympic skier Zali Steggall. This came despite the seat being traditionally conservative; it had been held by the Liberals and their predecessors without interruption since its creation in 1922. Abbott went into the election holding Warringah on a seemingly insurmountable margin of 61 percent. However, he lost over 12 percent of his primary vote from 2016, and finished over 4,100 votes behind Steggall on the first preference count. This deficit proved too much for Abbott to overcome, and Steggall defeated him on the ninth count after Labor preferences flowed overwhelmingly to her. The swing against Abbott was large enough that he would have suffered a swing of nine percent in a "traditional" two-party contest with Labor, the first time that Warringah had been marginal against Labor in its history.
On 15 December 2019, he claimed that the world was "in the grip of a climate cult".
On 4 September 2020, Abbott was appointed as an adviser to the UK's Board of Trade with the stated aim of providing "a range of views to help in its advisory function, promoting free and fair trade and advising on UK trade policy to the International Trade Secretary". The role involves advising on the negotiation of international trade deals for the UK, but it was reported that Abbott would not be involved in advising the government on the country's Brexit process. He will be joined on the board by other senior political figures, including Patricia Hewitt, a former UK Secretary of State for Health, Daniel Hannan, a former Member of the European Parliament, and Linda Yueh, a writer and broadcaster. News of the appointment prompted UK Opposition politicians to question his suitability for the job because of comments previously made by Abbott about climate change, women and same-sex marriage. Boris Johnson, the UK's Prime Minister, said that he could not agree with the views of everyone in his government, but that Abbott had been elected as Prime Minister by that "great, liberal democratic nation of Australia" which he said "speaks for itself".
Tony married Margie Abbott in 1988 and they have three daughters named Louise, Bridget, and Frances.
Currently, Tony Abbott is 65 years, 6 months and 29 days old. Tony Abbott will celebrate 66th birthday on a Saturday 4th of November 2023. Below we countdown to Tony Abbott upcoming birthday.