The comments that Tony Abbott is really regretting right now.

Like all politicians, Tony Abbott loves to rub salt into the wound of a bleeding opponent.

And he had plenty of opportunities as Opposition Leader during Labor’s tumultuous times, when Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd tussled for leadership in challenges in 2010, 2012 and 2013.

But now, given his current predicament, he may be wishing he kept his trap shut…

He claimed he could offer a stable government, unlike Labor.

After Julia Gillard won the June 2010 spill and took the Prime Ministership from Kevin Rudd, he said: “I can offer the Australian people a united, a stable and experienced team in a way that Labor plainly can’t.”

Except in February this year, Liberal backbencher Luke Simpkins moved a motion for a leadership spill – a motion that was defeated. And now, seven months later, he has been asked to step aside by both Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop.

Doesn’t sound like a party that is united or stable to us.

He claimed Gillard’s government was illegitimate after she fought off a leadership challenge.

After Gillard successfully fought off Rudd’s challenge in February 2012, Abbott claimed her government was illegitimate. Then he survived a spill motion with less votes in support of him than Gillard had supporting her…

When Gillard won the ballot 71 votes to 31, Abbott – then Opposition Leader –  asked this question of the Prime Minister in Parliament:  “Given that one-third of her parliamentary colleagues and a quarter of her cabinet colleagues have today expressed their lack of confidence in her, how can she claim to have a mandate to continue as Prime Minister?”


He followed up with: “How can the Prime Minister claim to be leading a united team when the former Prime Minister and the former foreign minister said that the Prime Minister had ‘lost the trust of the Australian people’ and 31 of her caucus colleagues backed the former Prime Minister?”

But when the Liberal spill motion was made earlier this year, 39 of his colleagues voted for it and 61 against it. Almost 40 per cent of his caucus did not have confidence in his leadership, but he kept tight-lipped about the state of his mandate to rule.

Even he does survive this challenge, those comments may haunt him.

“Prime ministers should not be treated this way.”

Regardless of the outcome, we can be sure Abbott will be mighty pissed off about the motion to spill.

When Rudd was ousted by Gillard in 2010, Abbott stuck up for his former adversary, saying: “Prime ministers should not be treated this way”.

“He should have been allowed to face the judgment of the Australian people,” he told parliament.

“A midnight knock on the door, followed by midnight execution is no way that the Australian prime minister should be treated.”

He apparently doesn’t like the method. Especially when it is his head on the chopping block.

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