Furious Liberals slam ‘proud and vain’ Tony Abbott for refusing to retire before the election even though he KNEW he wasn’t going to win in Warringah
- The Liberal Party can form majority government if it can win a total of 77 seats
- Party currently has 75 with five still in doubt and so may fall short of target
- Tony Abbott revealed on Saturday night he knew he was likely going to lose
- But he decided to stand anyway as he ‘would rather be a loser than a quitter’
Tony Abbott has been slammed by Liberal supporters after revealing he knew he wasn’t going to win his seat but decided to stand anyway for his own personal pride.
Although victorious, the Liberal Party faces being unable to form a majority government if it can’t win 77 seats.
On Monday morning it held 75 with five still in doubt – and supporters blamed Tony Abbott for not letting a more popular candidate contest the north Sydney seat of Warringah.
Tony Abbott (pictured at the bottle shop on Sunday) is facing the wrath of Liberal Party supporters
The former prime minister (pictured) on Saturday night admitted he knew he was going to lose his seat after the Liberals suffered defeat in the Wentworth by-election last year
‘Mr Abbott was treating the seat as a personal fiefdom rather than putting the party’s interests first,’ one Liberal told the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘Basically Abbott was saying he knew he was going to lose the seat, and he has not put the interests of the party ahead of his own interests. Vanity and pride prevented him from doing that.’
The former prime minister on Saturday night admitted he knew he was going to lose his seat after the Liberals suffered defeat in the Wentworth by-election last year.
But he said he decided it would be better to lose than to give up.
‘I can’t say that it doesn’t hurt to lose but I decided back then, in October of last year, that if I had to lose, so be it. I’d rather be a loser than a quitter,’ Mr Abbott told a rather upbeat crowd at Manly Leagues Club on Saturday night.
Australia’s 28th prime minister was beaten convincingly by Olympian Zali Steggall, an independent who rode a wave of discontent with the coalition’s handling of climate issues.
Ms Steggall, who arrived to a rock star reception at a Manly hotel, described the result as a ‘a win for the moderates with a heart’.
Mr Abbott was seen emptying bottles into his bins on Sunday before heading to the bottle shop
‘Tonight Warringah has definitely voted for the future. Warringah – we have a new beginning for our environment,’ she said.
Mr Abbott said while it was disappointing to lose his seat, ‘what matters is what’s best for the country.
‘What’s best for the country is not so much who wins or loses Warringah but who forms, or does not form, a government in Canberra.’
The ex-Liberal leader said there was ‘every chance’ the Liberal and National coalition would win the election.
He said it was a ‘stupendous result’ for Prime Minister Scott Morrison who would now enter the Liberal Party pantheon.
Despite losing his seat in a campaign dominated by climate action, Mr Abbott said the wider election result proved ‘where climate change is a moral issue, we Liberals do it tough. But where climate change is an economic issue, as a result, tonight shows we do very, very well.’
Australia’s 28th prime minister was beaten convincingly by Olympian Zali Steggall (pictured), an independent who rode a wave of discontent with the coalition’s handling of climate issues
Ms Steggall in victory vowed to be a ‘climate leader’ who would hold the government to account.
Mr Abbott congratulated Ms Steggall but the crowd booed at the mention of her name.
Mr Abbott’s mentor, former PM John Howard, said he ‘grieved’ for his loss and saluted the ‘enormous contribution that Tony has made to public life in Australia’.
One Abbott supporter was overheard saying: ‘We lost the battle but won the war.’
Media were not allowed into the event before Mr Abbott arrived and were promptly escorted from the room after he finished speaking.
One worker threatened to call the police to have reporters evicted from the venue.
Mr Abbott hinted he wasn’t done with politics stating: ‘My public life will, I imagine, go on.’