Abbott hints at still having Australian leadership ambitions

One Nation party leader Pauline Hanson, left, launches her book as former Prime Minister Tony Abbott listens at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, Tuesday, March 27, 2018. Abbott hinted that he still holds leadership ambitions as his replacement struggles to turn around the government's disastrous opinion polling. (AP Photo/Rod McGuirk)

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia's former Prime Minister Tony Abbott hinted Tuesday that he still holds leadership ambitions as his replacement struggles to turn around the government's disastrous opinion polling.

Abbott dropped the hint while launching a book by a former bitter political opponent, Pauline Hanson, who leads the anti-Islam, anti-immigration and pro-President Donald Trump minor party, One Nation.

Hanson was voted out of Parliament after a single three-year term in 1998. But the pair have put their animosity behind them since Hanson was elected to the Senate in 2016.

Abbott, who remains a government lawmaker outside the Cabinet, praised One Nation's three senators for helping the ruling conservative coalition pass legislation through the upper chamber, where the government does not hold a majority of seats.

"If I may say so Pauline, adversity has made you a better, deeper person, and you are certainly confirmation of that old adage that you are always better the second time around," Abbott said at the book launch.

Asked later if the same adage applied to him, Abbott replied, "That's an entirely hypothetical question and I couldn't possibly comment."

The pointed comment comes at a sensitive stage of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's leadership.

Turnbull replaced Abbott in 2015 by forcing a leadership ballot among lawmakers in the ruling conservative Liberal Party. Part of Turnbull's justification for the change was that the coalition government under Abbott's leadership trailed the opposition Labor Party in 30 consecutive opinion polls conducted by the respected market researcher Newspoll.

The government barely scraped back into power under Turnbull in 2016 elections. Turnbull's government on Monday lost its 29th consecutive Newspoll survey to Labor.

Questioned about the poll, Turnbull told reporters he was focusing on creating more jobs and getting business tax cuts through the Senate.

Newspolls are published by The Australian newspaper every two or three weeks and are widely reported as reliable indications of voters' intentions.

Hanson would not be drawn in on whether she would prefer Abbott or Turnbull as prime minister.

"It' not my decision, it's up to the party room," Hanson said, referring to meetings of Liberal Party lawmakers that determine who will be their leader.

People also read these

Indonesia president lands in Sydney on first...

Feb 25, 2017

Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo arrived in Sydney on Saturday on his first visit to...

Faster F1 cars means bigger, stronger drivers for...

Mar 23, 2017

The new regulations in F1 have made the cars bigger and faster, and so the drivers have had to...

Chinese premier wraps up Australia trip with...

Mar 25, 2017

China's premier has attended an Australian football game with the country's prime minister as he...

Afghan president says refugees off Australia...

Apr 4, 2017

Afghanistan's president says he hasn't discussed during his visit to Australia taking back asylum...

Australian police closer to deciding Vatican...

May 17, 2017

Australian police say they are closer to deciding whether to charge a top Vatican cardinal over...

Sign up now!

Three Sixty Press is your general news coverage keeping you up-to-date with the vast news in the world.

Contact us: sales[at]threesixtypress.com