Malcolm Turnbull says he understands what Tony Abbott could be going through

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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announces his new federal cabinet during a media conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, September 20, 2015. Australia got its fifth prime minister in as many years on Monday after the ruling Liberal Party voted to replace Abbott with former investment banker Malcolm Turnbull, following months of infighting and crumbling voter support. REUTERS/David Gray

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Monday that he completely understands what it feels like to let go of the Liberal leadership and considered himself among the few people who can truly empathise with Tony Abbott. He described the whole incident as a “dark, black experience” and said Abbott would have to bear with the “rotten times” ahead.

Mr Turnbull has also confirmed that Abbott has not been seeking a position in the new cabinet and has not been allotted one as well. However, Abbott, on a previous occasion, expressed his wish to stay in the parliament for a short span.

The new PM said nobody would be able to understand what Abbott is going through as well as he does. In 2009, when the coalition was in opposition, Mr Turnbull had lost out on his Liberal Leadership to Abbott, for supporting the then-Labor government on its emission trading scheme.

"I know what it's like to lose the leadership of a political party, it's a very tough business," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying. "It is a dark, black experience, it's awful. That sense of rejection -- I deeply empathise with him. It's a rotten time and he will need lots of support from his family and friends just like I did. But the show has to go on, this is the government of Australia."

Mr Turnbull has doubled the number of women in the newly formed cabinet but he regrets he could not appoint more women to his ministry.

"I thought two cabinet ministers out of nineteen was not enough, no," he said. "We now have five women in the cabinet, it would be good if it were more but the percentage of women in the Parliament itself is not as high as it should be."

Senator Marise Payne has been appointed as the first female Defence minister of Australia, while Michaelia Cash has been handed over the portfolio of the minister for Women, a capacity once held by Abbott with Cash assisting him in his role. Julie Bishop will continue to hold her position as the Foreign Affairs Minister of Australia and the Ministry of Health will be headed by Susan Ley. The position of minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer has been transferred to Victorian MP and former political staffer Kelly O’Dwyer from Bruce Billson.   

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