Tony Abbott, prime minister?

10 Feb 2012

THE story is told in Canberra that back in 1995, soon after he entered parliament at a by-election, Tony Abbott had lunch with some old friends who were keen to celebrate his arrival on the national stage. Gently brushing aside all the handshaking and backslapping, Abbott was at pains to play down his achievement: a backbencher, especially one so newly arrived, is the lowliest of the low; it really counted for very little.

After the 1996 election brought the Coalition to power, Abbott, who had hoped to become a minister, was instead named a parliamentary secretary. The same group lunched together, only to hear the guest of honour explain just how insignificant a parliamentary secretary really was. It was not long, however, before Abbott made it into the ministry – but, as he explained to his circle, the real power was elsewhere, in cabinet. As the inexorable rise continued, he made it into cabinet in 2001 and his friends congratulated him yet again. Still Abbott remained unimpressed. “There’s only one bloke in cabinet who has real power, and that’s not me,” he is reported to have said. The “yet,” though unspoken, was understood…


Publication Details
License Type: 
All Rights Reserved
Published year only: 
Geographic Coverage