IT’S almost a year to the day that he signed his own death certificate with the career-killing decision to knight 93-year-old Prince Phillip, widely credited with costing him the prime ministership.
But a defiant Tony Abbott has announced he’s coming back for more, confirming he will recontest the seat of Warringah at the next election.
After being ousted from the top job in September after a series of blunders — beginning with the Australia Day knighthood of the Queen’s gaffe-prone husband — Mr Abbott says his future in federal politics isn’t over.
“I have been heartened by the support and encouragement I’ve received to continue to serve the country as a member of parliament,” Mr Abbott said in a statement posted on his website last night.
“After leaving the prime ministership, I said that I would spend some time talking to family, trusted colleagues and local Liberals about my future.”
Mr Abbott went on to confirm he would be “renominating to represent the people of Warringah for another term as their Liberal MP” — the Sydney seat he has held for more than two decades.
“It has been a great honour to serve the people of Warringah for 22 years and I hope to retain their trust and confidence,” the former Prime Minister said in the statement.
In the statement, Mr Abbott did not mention the man who took his job, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. But Mr Abbott wrote that he looked forward “to working with Premier Mike Baird”.
The Labor opposition has warned an embittered and angry Mr Abbott plans to try to win the top job back from Mr Turnbull with another term in Parliament, warning the Coalition to “watch its back.”
But staunch Abbott backer Senator Eric Abetz has rubbished the claim.
“Tony Abbott is absolutely no Kevin Rudd,” Senator Abetz told ABC radio on Monday.
“Kevin Rudd was always about one thing only, Kevin Rudd, whereas Tony Abbott has always been about one thing, namely, the Australian people.
This time last year, jaws across the country dropped when then-PM Abbott announced at a press conference that Prince Philip would be among the first recipients of his newly-revived knights and dames honours system.
“Prince Philip has been a great servant of Australia, he’s been a great servant of all the countries of the Commonwealth,” he said on January 26, dismissing the instantaneous backlash, particularly on social media, as “electronic grafitti.”
The decision, said to have been done only in consultation with his then cheif-of-staff Peta Credlin, angered colleagues who soon gave him six months to repair the government’s damaged image and poor standing in the polls. Ultimately, he wasn’t up to the task.