Tony Abbott speaks after toppling by Turnbull, pledges ‘there’ll be no wrecking, undermining, sniping’ [Video]

By @giherela on
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Tony Abbott makes his final address as Prime Minister of Australia on Sept. 15 2015. Youtube

Tony Abbott has spoken publicly for the first time since losing the Liberal Party leadership to Malcolm Turnbull in a party room ballot on Monday night.

Addressing the nation for the final time as Prime Minister, Mr Abbott began by saying leadership changes are never easy for the country, but insisted that he would make the change “as easy as I can”.

Making reference to his last speech– a pitch to his party and electors – about avoiding party destablisation, the 28th Australian prime minister said he had never “leaked or backgrounded against anyone”, and he certainly would not begin now.

“There’ll by no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping. Our country deserves better,” he said during the live address.

“I want our country and our government to succeed. I always have and always will.”

Whilst he conceded that joining the political game also meant playing by the rules, Mr Abbott did not shy away from taking aim at Australia’s political culture and the role of the media:

"The nature of politics has changed in the past decade. We have more polls and more commentary than before, mostly sour, bitter, character assassination.

“Poll-driven panic has produced a revolving door prime ministership which can’t be good for our country.”

“If there’s one piece of advice I can give to the media: refuse to print self-serving claims that a person making them won’t put his or her name to. Refuse to connive and dishonour by acting as the assassin's knife.”

Mr Abbott had been undermined by a series of party leaks to the media during his term as PM, and in August even sent out a confidential briefing note to his ministers asking them to say “our cabinet is functioning extremely well” if approached by reporters. This note was then promptly leaked to the press gallery in full, Fairfax reported.

Listing the achievements of his government – stopping the boats, delivering free trade agreements, creating jobs, launching an investigation into union corruption, and responding to terror threats – Mr Abbott acknowledged on Tuesday afternoon that there was more still that he wanted to do.

This includes the “struggles of the wider world” such as the security in the South China Sea, and addressing the ice epidemic and domestic violence challenges.

He finished his address by thanking his family, party, the armed forces, and staff who he praised as being “absolutely unceasing”, especially chief of staff Peta Credlin, who he said had been “unfairly maligned by people who should have known better”.

"Of course the government wasn’t perfect," Mr Abbott said, "we have been a government of men and women, not a government of gods walking upon the earth. Few of us, after all, entirely measure up to expectations."

“It’s humbling to lose, but that does not compare to the honour of being asked to lead.

“I am proud of what the Abbott government has achieved. We stayed focus.

“I thank my country for the privilege of service.”

Watch Tony Abbott's full address below:

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