CANBERRA (AFP) - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott hit out Tuesday (Sept 15) at the vicious nature of modern politics saying a “revolving door” for leaders was not good for the country.
Speaking after losing the top job to challenger Malcolm Turnbull in a Liberal Party vote, Abbott said: “Poll-driven panic has produced a revolving door prime ministership, which can’t be good for our country”.
“The nature of politics has changed in the past decade. We have more polls and more commentary than ever before, mostly sour, bitter character assassination,” Abbott told reporters at Parliament House in Canberra.
“And a febrile media culture has developed that rewards treachery,” he said after becoming the latest in a line of prime ministers to lose their jobs in party coups.
Abbott, who came to power in a general election victory in 2013, told the media it should “refuse to print self-serving claims that the person making them won’t put his or her name to”. “Refuse to connive and dishonour by acting as the assassin’s knife.”
His administration, particularly this year, has been marked by numerous leaks to various media organisations about policies and leadership rumours.
Abbott pledged to make the leadership transition “as easy as I can” in what could be seen as a dig at the former Labor government, which was riven by in-fighting.
“There will be no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping. I’ve never leaked or backgrounded against anyone. And I certainly won’t start now,” the 57-year-old said. “Our country deserves better than that. I want our government and our country to succeed.”
Abbott survived a first leadership challenge in February.
He had lost the 2010 national election to Labor’s Julia Gillard, who had ousted her own leader, Kevin Rudd, in a ruthless takeover.
She was similarly knifed by Rudd ahead of the 2013 election.
Abbott expressed pride at his Liberal-National coalition’s two years in power, highlighting the removal of Labor’s mining and carbon taxes, free-trade pacts with China, Japan and Korea, national security response to terrorism threats and the stopping of asylum-seeker boats as some of the policy successes.