Breaking: Tony Abbott finally speaks out

Tony Abbott has finally broken his silence, 14 hours after his party voted against him and he lost his role as Prime Minister.

In a dignified, non-emotional speech, Mr Abbott vowed he would make the change of leadership as smooth as possible – with no wrecking or leaking.

Mr Abbott said, “I am proud of what the Abbott government has achieved, despite the whiteanting.”

He said this included trade agreements, infrastructure spending, probes into union corruption. “The boats have stopped, and with the boats stopped, we’ve been better able to display our compassion to refugees.”

Mr Abbott added that he regretted not finishing his work on Indigenous recognition, and not to be in a position to deal with the growing problems of ice and domestic violence.

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He had some comments to make about the state of Australia’s politics:

“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. Poll-driven panic has produced a revolving door prime ministership which can’t be good for our country.”

He also hit out at the “febrile” media culture “that rewards treachery”.

“If there’s one piece of advice I can give to the media, it’s this: refuse to print self-serving claims that the person making them won’t put his or her name to. Refuse to connive at dishonour by acting as the assassin’s knife.”

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“Finally, I thank my country for the privilege of service. It is humbling to lose, but that does not compare to the honour of being asked to lead.

“In my maiden speech here in this Parliament, I quoted from the first Christian service ever preached here in Australia. The Reverend Richard Johnson took as his text, what shall I render unto the Lord for all his blessings to me? At this, my final statement as Prime Minister, I say: I have rendered all and I am proud of my service. My love for this country is as strong as ever, and may God bless this great Commonwealth.”

Mr Abbott took an unusually long time to make a statement – 14 hours in all. The hashtag #whereisTony has been the top trending hashtag all day.

Tell us, what do you make of Tony Abbott’s final speech? What would you like to say to him in return?