While campaigning in his seat of Warringah this afternoon, former prime minister Tony Abbott copped a bit of a grilling from kids over climate change.

Abbott, who is gunning for a re-election against chief political opponent, Independent Candidate Zali Steggall, was stopped on the street outside Manly Village Public School. 

One girl just straight up went for it, asking Abbott: “You said you wanted to do the right thing by everyone, isn’t the right thing by everyone protecting the planet?”

“Exactly right,” Abbott replies. “But the important thing is to do it in an intelligent way, not an unintelligent way – “

“By polluting the earth with coal,” one girl cuts in.


Abbott then explains how wind energy and solar power are inefficient and “very expensive” but the young punters are not swayed.

“It’s better than using coal to pollute everything,” one says.

Again, Abbott tries to really highlight, circle, and underline just how ineffective he believes renewable energy is.

“Isn’t it important that when you switch the lights on, to charge your phone. It’s there?” he asks.

The reply?

“Isn’t it though better to spend money on something that’s going to benefit us and not do something bad to our planet?” 

Abbott told the media that he was “not too cocky” but quietly confident about being re-elected.

“I’ve always been a nervous candidate,” he said at Forestville Public School.

“Sure, I’ve got a few butterflies doing loop-the-loops in my tummy today as well. But that’s the lot of all candidates because the one thing you can never take for granted is the vote of the Australian people.”

Steggall, an Olympic medallist, voted at Balgowlah North Public School. 

“What I really wanted when I announced my candidacy was give people a choice,” she told reporters afterwards“After 25 years there are a lot of people that are ready for different representation.” 

Image: Twitter / @BenJames / @manlydaily