Australia’s ousted Abbott snipes at new government

MEDIA CALL: Gillard, Abbott to hold Q&A session at Rooty Hill RSL Wednesday, 11 August 2010 from 6.00pm Sydney, Australia, August 9, 2010 – Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will be holding a people’s forum at Rooty Hill RSL on Wednesday, 11 August 2010 from 6.00pm. The event will be facilitated by political editor David Speers and telecast live across Australia. The audience, which will include approximately 200 swinging voters from Western Sydney chosen by Galaxy Research, as well as media representatives, will have the opportunity to ask the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader questions related to their policies and in particular, how it affects the local community. Gillard, Abbott Q&A session details Date: Wednesday, 11 August 2010 Time: 6.00pm (media can set up from 5.15pm) Where: Rooty Hill RSL Waratah Room 55 Sherbrooke Street, Rooty Hill NSW 2766 RSVP: Schedule 6.00pm Prime Minister Julia Gillard address – Q&A 7.00pm Break for refreshments 7.30pm Opposition Leader Tony Abbott address – Q&A 8.30pm Close A limited number of seats are available for media representatives for this event. To attend this media call or for further information regarding the Gillard, Abbott Q&A session, please contact Christine Kardashian at Dash PR on 02 8084 0705 / 0416 005 703 or email ________________________________________ MEDIA RELEASE: Rooty Hill RSL to host Gillard, Abbott Q&A session Wednesday, 11 August 2010 from 6.00pm Sydney, Australia, August 9, 2010 – Rooty Hill RSL, Australia’s largest RSL club, will host the highly anticipated people’s forum with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. The event will be held on Wednesday, 11 August 2010 from 6.00pm, facilitated by political editor David Speers and telecast live across Australia. Why Rooty Hill RSL? Rooty Hill RSL

Toppled Australian leader Tony Abbott took potshots at the new government Tuesday, saying it offered no new policies and that the nation should stop swapping prime ministers “like changing clothes”.

Abbott was ousted by conservative colleague Malcolm Turnbull in a vote among ruling Liberal party lawmakers earlier this month, as opinion polls plunged two years into office and with an election about a year away.

At the time, he vowed there would be “no undermining and no sniping” as he moved to the backbenches, but the former leader could not hold back from defending his legacy in a radio interview.

“The interesting thing is no policy has changed since the change of the prime minister,” Abbott said.

“Climate change, the same. Border protection policy, the same. National security policy, the same,” he said, referring to hot-button issues.

Abbott’s demise is the latest in a brutal political tradition of dumping unpopular prime ministers in party coups — Labor leaders Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard were similarly ousted mid-term.

“We’ve had five prime ministers in five years. That’s bad. That puts us in the league of Italy and Greece,” said Abbott, the only Australian prime minister to come to power through a general election in the past half-decade.

“The difficulty… is that government can’t do what is necessary for the long-term good of our country if you are subject to death by polls and then ultimately a party-room coup,” he told 2GB radio

Australia had to “get right away from this concept of changing the leader like you might change your clothes to suit the fashion”, he said.

Abbott urged the party and voters to stick with the conservative coalition government, even reluctantly, as it prepares for elections in late 2016.

“Even if they have to do it through gritted teeth, support the coalition, support the prime minister, support the government,” he said.

Abbott reassured listeners that his mental state was okay despite being pushed from the job, saying he knew politics was “a pretty brutal business”.

The 57-year-old stressed he was “too young to retire” and would remain in parliament.

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