Opposition leader Tony Abbott.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott. Rob Wright

Tony Abbott profile: Is he more than an Opposition leader?

TONY Abbott doesn't want to be remembered as the 'best Opposition leader never to have become Prime Minister".

But to ensure that doesn't happen, he will need to convince voters he is a positive alternative to Kevin Rudd and the ALP.

Mr Abbott has become better known for what he opposes than what he stands for.

During the election campaign, the LNP leader will need to demonstrate he has real policies that will make a difference.

In the lead-up to the election campaign, Mr Abbott has refused to give away much about what his policies will be.

His team prefers the focus to be on what the ALP is doing wrong than the devil in the detail of what might be coming.

Labor will no doubt use examples from Queensland, where there have been massive public servant job cuts under Premier Campbell Newman, as what voters can expect.

Mr Abbott will try to run a 'small target' campaign.


Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd face media on the Bruce Hwy at Benaraby.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd face media on the Bruce Hwy at Benaraby. Luka Kauzlaric

The former Rhodes Scholar is no political dummy, having worked as a journalist for The Australian, before becoming an adviser to the Liberal Party.

The man who once trained as a Catholic priest will try to avoid being painted as ultra conservative.

And just like Kevin Rudd he will have those in his own party who believe someone else - Malcolm Turnbull - would be a better choice as leader.

Labor will no doubt point to his time as former health minister - overseeing big cuts - and as employment minister - to foreshadow what workers can expect.

Mr Abbott has made it clear he is in favour of tougher border controls, lower taxes and smaller government.

His most repeated line has been 'We will stop the boats' - but often he's failed to tell exactly how.

But he says he supports Kevin Rudd's new policy of processing asylum seekers in PNG while also advocating boats be turned around 'where it is safe to do so'.

Mr Abbott has been a fierce opponent of the carbon tax, claiming that more trees and smarter technology will do more to address climate change.

His big challenge will be turn the national economy around - something he believes can be done by cutting red and green tape and encouraging private enterprise.

In recent times, he was glowing of the mining industry, praising the tens of thousands of jobs being created by the sector.


Tony Abbott was elected Member for Warringah at a by-election in March 1994.

Prior to entering Parliament he was Executive Director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy from 1993-94.

From 1990-93 he was press secretary and political advisor to the Leader of the Opposition, Dr John Hewson.

His previous career was in journalism, where he wrote as a feature writer for 'The Bulletin' and 'The Australian'.

Tony became Leader of the Opposition on 1 December 2009.

He lives in Forestville with wife Margaret and three daughters.


St. Ignatius Riverview

Sydney University


First Grade Rugby

President of the SRC

Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University

MA, Politics and Philosophy

Won two Blues in boxing

St. Patrick's Seminary, Manly


On the election of the Howard Government in 1996 he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs. In this role, he was responsible for the establishment of the Green Corps program for young people.

Following the 1998 election he was appointed Minister for Employment Services. As Minister, he oversaw the development of the Job Network and a major expansion of Work for the Dole.

In January 2001, Mr Abbott was promoted to Cabinet as Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business.

Following the 2001 election he was appointed Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Leader of the House and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service

He was appointed Minister for Health and Ageing on the 7 October 2003.

After the election  2007, he became Shadow Minister for Families, Community Services, Indigenous Affairs & the Voluntary Sector, followed by Shadow Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

In December 2009 he became Leader of the Opposition.

He has written two books in defence of the existing constitutional system, "The Minimal Monarchy" and "How to Win the Constitutional War".

In 2009 he launched his latest book Battlelines.

Source: Tony Abbott MHR