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"The suppository of all wisdom": Australia's gaffe-prone Tony Abbott - in his own words

The just-replaced prime minister has dropped quite a few clangers over the years.

MULTI-MILLIONAIRE FORMER banker Malcolm Turnbull was sworn in as prime minister of Australia last night – just hours after masterminding a coup against conservative leader Tony Abbott. 

Turnbull is the country’s fourth prime minister in just over two years – a recent Australian political tradition the deposed Abbott slammed as a “revolving door” that was not good for the country.

Abbott’s two years in power and four years as opposition leader were marked by numerous gaffes which provoked uproar among commentators and fellow politicians.

Australia Politics Source: Rick Rycroft

For instance:

“It’s pretty obvious that, well, sometimes shit happens, doesn’t it?”

- Abbott in October 2010 overheard discussing the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan during a trip.

“No-one, however smart, however well-educated, however experienced, is the suppository of all wisdom.”

- Abbott in August 2013 mistakenly used the word “suppository” rather than “repository” to contrast his campaign before the September election to then-Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd.

“I’m going to shirtfront Mr. Putin — you bet I am”

- Abbott in October 2014 vows to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin at an upcoming G20 meeting over the loss of Australian lives in the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash.

“There was a holocaust of jobs in defence industries under members opposite.”

- Abbott in February 2015 when questioned in parliament about unemployment and submarine development in South Australia.

“What we can’t do is endlessly subsidise lifestyle choices if those lifestyle choices are not conducive to the kind of full participation in Australian society that everyone should have.”

- Abbott in March 2015 on living in remote Aboriginal communities amid a plan to close more than 100 of them across Western Australia.

Australia Politics Outgoing PM Tony Abbott speaking during his farewell press conference Source: PA

New broom

Meanwhile Turnbull, a suave former lawyer and investment banker, has pledged to run a consultative government, in contrast to Abbott’s divisive rule.

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“My firm belief is that to be a successful leader in 2015, perhaps at any time, you have to be able to bring people with you by respecting their intelligence in the manner you explain things,” he said of his nascent premiership.

We need advocacy, not slogans.

Abbott lashed out at the savage nature of modern politics after his sudden toppling by his long-time Liberal Party colleague and rival – who served as communications minister before making the challenge.

“The nature of politics has changed in the past decade,” he told his farewell press conference.

“We have more polls and more commentary than ever before, mostly sour, bitter character assassination.”

New blood

The new leader, with strong support from influential foreign minister Julie Bishop who the party re-elected as deputy leader with a 70-30 vote in her favour, is expected to shake up the cabinet later this week.

He is thought likely to sweep out traditional conservatives and bring in younger blood and more women.

With reporting from © – AFP, 2015. An earlier version of this article was published at 9am.

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About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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