Tony Abbott could soon make a return to public life. Picture: AAP
Tony Abbott could soon make a return to public life. Picture: AAP

Abbott set for return to public life

TONY Abbott's is set to fill a vacancy on the board of the Australian War Memorial after his crushing election defeat.

The former Prime Minister is understood to be among the preferred candidates for the role, which became vacant after acclaimed author and historian Les Carlyon died in March.

An appointment would mark a return to public life for Mr Abbott, who has kept a low-profile after losing northern Sydney seat of Warringah at this year's federal election.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott is understood to be “top of the list” to fill a vacancy on the board of the Australian War Memorial. Picture: Getty Images
Former prime minister Tony Abbott is understood to be “top of the list” to fill a vacancy on the board of the Australian War Memorial. Picture: Getty Images


The news comes after former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer said in May that the Coalition should consider appointing Mr Abbott at Australia's envoy to the Vatican.

But Mr Abbott - who said expected to continue in public life in some way following his bruising election defeat - is understood to have no interest in a diplomatic job, according to Nine Newspapers.

The publication reports the former senior Liberal is "top of the list" to fill the vacancy on the high-powered War Memorial board. Veteran's Affairs Minister Darren Chester said he could not comment on the speculation.

"There is a vacancy on the war memorial council and I will be making a recommendation to cabinet in the coming weeks," Mr Chester said.

If Mr Abbott were successful in obtaining the role, the annual salary of $26,340 plus additional travel and meal allowances would be a significant pay cut from parliamentary life. He was earning more than $500,000 during his time as prime minister from 2013-2015.

Veterans Affairs Minister Darren Chester said he couldn’t comment on speculation. Picture: AAP
Veterans Affairs Minister Darren Chester said he couldn’t comment on speculation. Picture: AAP

Former Liberal leader Brendan Nelson is the current director of the Canberra institution. High-profile members of the board include Seven West chairman Kerry Stokes and longtime chair of Qantas Margaret Jackson, among others.

The War Memorial is soon to embark on a $500 million expansion project in an investment supported by both major parties.

Former deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop who resigned at the May 18 poll was yesterday announced as Australian National University's new chancellor.