Former prime minister Tony Abbott ‘s beloved father, Richard Henry ‘Dick’ Abbott, has died aged 93.
Abbott, who’s now the federal member for Warringah, confirmed his father’s passing in a tweet, saying “God bless you Dad”.
Dick Abbott had had a stroke on Monday, News Corp reported, and died in the Sydney Adventist Hospital in Wahroonga this morning.
The former PM has often spoke of his father’s influence on his life, with his father attending Liberal Party conferences by his son’s side, supporting him when he copped criticism as a politician, and guiding his decisions.
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“With each passing year I better appreciate what he has done for me,’’ Abbott told The Sunday Telegraph on Father’s Day in 2015. “The haze of time has obscured most of our conversation, but I do clearly recall Dad’s insistence that it was better to be a good person than a successful one.”
Dick Abbott was born in Newcastle in the UK and emigrated to Australia in 1940 as a 16-year-old with his parents but returned to the UK with his mother in 1954.
He served in the RAAF in World War II after being called up at 18, and returned to Australia with his own wife, including British-born Tony, in 1960 as a ’10-pound Pom’. He subsequently worked as an orthodontist in Sydney, retiring in 1992.
Dick Abbott was known as a keen race-goer, who enjoyed a bet on the horses, though he said only a few years ago that it wasn’t a skill his son had inherited.
“Tony would be the worst tipster in the world on racing,” he joked to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Do you admire the respect Tony Abbott has for his father? Was your own father or mother a similarly strong influence on your life?