Mixed reaction to Abbott comeback


Tony Abbott's decision to contest the 2016 federal election has political tongues wagging and speculating about possible instability down the track.

Prime minister in exile or a talent that mustn't be wasted?

There's been a mixed response in political circles to Tony Abbott's decision to contest the 2016 federal election, given the turmoil of the Kevin Rudd-Julia Gillard years.

"Tony Abbott is absolutely no Kevin Rudd," Liberal senator Eric Abetz insisted, after Mr Abbott on Sunday confirmed he planned to stand again for his Sydney seat of Warringah.

"Kevin Rudd was always about one thing only, Kevin Rudd, whereas Tony Abbott has always been about one thing, namely, the Australian people."

The former Abbott government minister rejected suggestions Mr Abbott was bitter after being deposed by Mr Turnbull, telling ABC radio said his experience as prime minister would help rather than hinder his successor.

Senator Abetz also repeated calls for Mr Abbott to be promoted to the ministry, despite Mr Turnbull previously ruling it out.

Mr Abbott told reporters outside his Sydney home on Monday he wanted to keep his renomination for the seat he has held since 1994 "as low key as possible".

Labor frontbencher Brendan O'Connor said Mr Abbott's decision would cause havoc in coalition ranks.

"He sees himself as a prime minister in exile," Mr O'Connor told reporters in Townsville.

"I don't think Tony Abbott sees that his career's at an end and that means it's likely to spell trouble for Malcolm Turnbull."

Nationals senator John Williams rejected suggestions Mr Abbott's decision to stay on would cause instability.

"Tony is a good man," Senator Williams told ABC radio.

"I think he should be on the frontbench."

Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen said the conservative former prime minister wanted to stop Mr Turnbull taking a progressive approach on issues like climate change or marriage equality.

"The idea Tony Abbott is staying around in politics to make the odd speech about the Warringah Rotary Club is fanciful," Mr Bowen told ABC radio.

Former Liberal leader John Hewson said the probability of Mr Abbott returning to the federal Liberal leadership was low.

"I don't think he should harbour the ambition of returning to the leadership," Dr Hewson told ABC radio on Monday.

"What he can hope to do is make a constructive contribution."

Treasurer Scott Morrison said Mr Abbott had been a passionate local MP and his ongoing role would be welcome.

"Good for Tony," he told radio 2GB.

Source AAP

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