25 January 2016
by Primrose Riordan

Tony Abbott to recontest his seat of Warringah

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has ended speculation over his future, posting a statement saying he will recontest his seat in the 2016 federal election.

After he was brutally rolled in the September leadership coup that installed Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Abbott has simply said he would take the summer holidays to consult with family and confidants over whether to stay on.

"I said that I would spend some time talking to family, trusted colleagues and local Liberals about my future," he said.

Mr Abbott said he had decided to renominate in light of the "encouragement" he has received.

"I have been heartened by the support and encouragement I've received to continue to serve the country as a member of parliament.

"Therefore, I am renominating to represent the people of Warringah for another term as their Liberal MP," he said in the statement posted on his website.

Mr Abbott said he would use his new backbench role, if he gains the support of preselectors, to work on local issues.

"I am proud of my work to establish the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust that has done so much to improve the amenity of former military land on North Head, Middle Head and Georges Heights.

"Should I be renominated and elected, I am looking forward to working with Premier Mike Baird to ensure that the Warringah Peninsula gets better transport links to the rest of Sydney," he said

He said he hoped to "retain their trust and confidence" of the people of his electorate.

Last week, Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said he hoped Mr Abbott stayed in politics, and sources told The Australian Financial Review on Sunday they had expected him to stay.

One Liberal MP said Mr Abbott was "more like a statesman than a commercial person" in terms of moving on to work for a company, and he would want to contribute to the "contest of ideas".

Mr Abbott and other former ministers of his government who failed to retain their positions in the reshuffle under Mr Turnbull have not been afraid to come out against some government policies and positions, most notably on defence and national security.

In November, Tony Abbott made a number of media appearances calling for Australia to change tack and to send in troops to fight the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq - a call promptly rebuffed by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

There has also been appeals, such as from Tasmanian Senator Eric Abetz, for Mr Abbott to be given a ministerial role following the shock resignation of Jamie Briggs and sidelining of Mal Brough in late December.

Malcolm Turnbull also shut this suggestion down by saying he will favour new talent and women in a reshuffle of positions likely to occur in early February.

Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg confirmed Mr Turnbull's position on the matter and said he did not think Mr Abbott would not return to become Prime Minister or even cabinet.

"I don't think that's going to happen...I think the Prime Minister has made it very clear that Tony Abbott's not coming back to the cabinet anytime soon," he said.