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Tony Abbott doesn't rule out becoming PM of Australia again

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott at an Indian restaurant launch in Melbourne's south east on Saturday February 17 Source: SBS Punjabi

When asked by SBS Punjabi if he would be future Prime Minister again, Tony Abbott said, "let's see what the future holds."

Mr Abbott was in Wantirna (in Melbourne's south east), on Saturday February 17, to inaugurate an Indian restaurant chain.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott at an Indian restaurant launch in Melbourne's south east on Saturday February 17
SBS Punjabi

In a brief interview with SBS Punjabi, he reflected on the events that unfolded in Canberra last week, as the coalition begins to look shaky after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Deputy Prime Minister and National Party leader Barnaby Joyce both publicly criticised each other.

"This was a week that most people would have preferred had not happened," Mr Abbott said to SBS Punjabi. "But the important thing is for all of us to go on and trying to do the right thing by the people of Australia."

Earlier in the day, before Mr Abbott addressed the gathering at the restaurant opening, many admirers and supporters said he was not just "the former Prime Minister of Australia, but the future Prime Minister as well."

Asked about that, Mr Abbott laughed and said, "For me, I'm very proud to be the member for Warringah, I'm happy to continue as the member for Warringah, but as long as you're in the parliament you're there to serve."

"So let's see what the future holds."

When asked again if he would rule out running for the top job, Mr Abbott smiled and said, "I'm here to serve as best as I can my electorate, my party and our country."  

When asked about his recent utterances on scaling back immigration, Mr Abbott said," I'm completely in favour of immigration and Indian migrants make wonderful Australians. But we must serve the interests of all those people who are already here, including the Indian community, so that we have unclogged roads, increasing wages and lesser pressure on housing prices."

"So for a limited time, we must scale back immigration back, but what we will never do is do anything that makes immigrants feel like strangers in their own country."

"Immigrants have made this place, we are immigrant nation - always have and always will be, and that's what lends a heroic dimension to the Australian story."

Addressing the audience earlier, Mr Abbott said he was inaugurating the Indian restaurant to "pay tribute to all small businesses." 

He said, "Although we spend a lot of time lionising the work done by our nurses, doctors, teachers, police and the military, and so we should, but we must remember, they have jobs."

"Small businesses create jobs. They put their economic lives on the line to create jobs for others."

"We can't have a community without an economy and small businesses are the backbone of our economy."

Tony Abbott signing an autograph for a young admirer from the Indian community
Tony Abbott signing an autograph for a young admirer from the Indian community
SBS Punjabi

Mr Abbott paid particular tribute to the Indian community of Australia, especially because many Indian migrants run small businesses. 

He added, "India is an emerging super power and will have a vast role to play globally."

There were many Abbott fans in the gathering, including young children who asked for autographs as well. 

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