Somewhere on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott walks with eyes glazed telling anyone who will listen: “Sure, I’d be the Liberal leader again.”
According to The Guardian, this was just the case on Monday evening – when the member for Warringah reportedly told his constituents at Manly Yacht Club that he would be happy to take over the top job again, but only if he was drafted in.
“I won’t go into a contested ballot,” he said in response to a question about the leadership of the Liberal Party. “It will be up to the party room. If they want me they will need to invite me. But I am not expecting that.”
It’s hard to say why Abbott might not think a hard-nosed approach to regaining the leadership would work. It could be the apparent internal Liberal polling that placed him in a “diabolically bad” spot, or it could be because he voted for the failed Peter Dutton 4 PM spill last year. Or maybe it’s because he spent so much time undermining his usurper, Malcolm Turnbull, despite promising to not do that.
For Tony, none of those things ring true. Abbott reportedly denying claims he was a “wrecker” and insisting that if that were the case he would have left parliament when he was outed as PM, forcing a by-election.
“When I won the leadership I put Turnbull into cabinet,” he said. “He didn’t return the compliment.”
“I said, that’s fair enough, that’s your call, but you have to understand I have some pretty strong views on policy and as long as I am on the backbench I will speak my mind because thats what backbenchers are entitled to do.”