When questioned on a return to the leadership, said he stands “ready to serve”, but is “perfectly content serving as the member for Warringah”.
It’s been a subtle but extremely deliberate campaign. Abbott keeps touting the “humble member for Warringah” line at the same time intervening in issues that backbenchers would normally be silent on.
“After all, I have been the leader of this government and have views are important and need to be expressed,” is the line.
But over time, a new theme is emerging in Abbott’s campaign. It began with the address to members of the Conservative party in the UK recently. Abbott considered that he was a chance for the leadership. Later denied.
Now he is “ready to serve”. The implication is that the opportunity is almost available, not quite, but when it is Tony is “ready”.
Poor old Malcolm Turnbull is in terrible position. He needs Tony Abbott to stay in Parliament because loss of one member will make him and his government reliant on the cross bench. But he also meets Tony Abbott to get out of Parliament and given him some clean air.
And Abbott will continue sniping from the sidelines. He is a master of the art as he demonstrated during the Gillard government. Not so good at being Prime Minister, but a very good wrecker.
The profound irony is that if the Liberal party was stupid enough to reinstated Abbott, they would sadly underestimate the mood of the Australian public. They are sick and tired of people like Abbott, Abetz and Bernardi dealing in the politics of confrontation and “I’m right and you’re wrong.”
The Australian electorate has demonstrated that it is clearly prepared to elect small special interest groups fully knowing that they have the ability to frustrate the will of the government. The message is that the electorate wants a pluralistic parliament, one that can compromise and incorporate the views of until-now silent minorities.
This particular view is going to require a government is capable of negotiation and compromise. Something that Tony Abbott has demonstrated he is completely unable to do.