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"It's Snakes and Ladders": Tony Abbott has given his first interviews since his ousting as PM.

It’s Abbott’s first in-depth interview since he was removed as Prime Minister.

After sending his resignation to Governor Sir Peter Cosgrove via fax and retreating to the back benches of the House of Representatives, Abbott has largely refrained from commenting on the new leadership and on the spill that saw him removed from the country’s highest office.

Tony Abbott with his wife, Margie.

But now, in his first in depth interview since his removal, Abbott has praised his own period in office, saying that re-electing a Liberal government is “absolutely” in the country’s best interests.

Speaking to The Weekend Australian’s Dennis Shanahan and Paul Kelly, Mr Abbott said that he had no plans to undermine Prime Minister Turnbull’s leadership and said that another change in prime minister would be bad for the country.

In the interview, Abbott also praised the achievements of former Treasurer Joe Hockey – who has announced he will be leaving politics.

“What we have given the new Prime Minister and the new Treasurer is a very strong foundation,” he said.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott speaks to Coalition MPs in the party room on June 28, 2013 in Canberra, Australia. Abbott questioned the credibility of Kevin Rudd's new front bench during his address to Coalition MPs, one day after Kevin Rudd was sworn in as Prime Minister following a Labor party leadership ballot.
Joe Hockey, Julie Bishop and Tony Abbott. Image via Getty.

Mr Abbott pointed out the lack of policy changes that have been made since Turnbull took control on September 14th, a sentiment that has also been raised by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

“Interestingly, just as nothing has changed on economic policy in the last fortnight, nothing’s changed on climate change policy in the last fortnight, nothing’s changed in respect of same-sex marriage in the last fortnight and nothing’s changed in respect of border protection in the last fortnight, and I don’t imagine anything will change in national security policy more broadly,” Abbott said.

Despite the criticisms that plagued the Abbott government since the 2013 election, Abbott used the interview to highlight that his government “didn’t get the credit it deserved”, saying that his government was one that had its eye on the future.

malcolm turnbull featured
Former Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull successfully challenged Abbott for the leadership of the Liberal party earlier this month. Image via Getty.
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“Obviously we stopped the boats, a really important achievement,” he told The Weekend Australian. “We got rid of Labor’s bad taxes, a really important achievement. We’ve kick-started a lot of ­infrastructure, the biggest infrastructure spend in the commonwealth’s history including the Badgerys Creek airport about which governments have procrastinated about for many, many years.”

“Plainly, the three free-trade agreements are incredibly important and I believe they will set up the country for the long term. And the trade union royal commission is doing an outstanding job.”

In an interview with the Saturday Telegraph, Tony Abbott said that he had never expected that he would be ousted by his own party:

“Certainly I never thought, having watched the Labor Party implode, that the Coalition would want to venture down the same path…My judgment turned out to be wrong.”

As for his next steps, the former-PM is keeping that close to his chest. “Look, I’m not going to make any hard and fast decisions this side of Christmas,” he said. “I think I’m far too young to retire. Obviously I still think I have quite a lot to contribute in public life.”

“Over the next couple of weeks I will take it easy, catch up with family, colleagues and trusted friends…In the process I’ll think about what the future might hold.”

As for his family, Abbott says that they knew the risks of the political game, which he likens to Snakes and Ladders: “They are coping pretty well, they are all very resilient, they a have never been under any illusions about the nature of political life and like me they accept that in this game of snakes and ladders, sometimes a bad number comes up.”

While he seems nonchalant about his ousting, he’s still quite convinced it was a bad move for the country: “The commentariat have now got the PM they want but the public have lost the PM they voted for … this is a real issue for our country.”

What do you think about Tony Abbott’s removal as Prime Minister? 

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