Tony Abbott

Prime Minister of Australia

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Official Stats

  • Official Title: Prime Minister
  • Government: Well-established democracy
  • Years Left in Office: Indefinite: no term limits
  • Political Classification: Center-right
  • Education: Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Laws, MA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics
  • Age: 59 (born November 4, 1957)

Tony Abbott Facts and Information

Important Points

  • Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was elected in 2013 which brought rise to a new political leader in Australia – The Liberal/National Coalition Party
  • Abbott holds both an Economics and Law degree from the University of Sydney and has a Masters of Arts (Politics and Philosophy) from Oxford
  • Abbott is the author of four books – The Minimal Monarchy and why it Still Works for Australia, How to Win the Constitutional War and Give Both Sides What They Want, Battlelines, and A Strong Australia – Check them out for more info!
  • Abbott trained as a catholic priest prior to his involvement in politics
  • The political party change has brought rise to many new policies, especially those regarding immigration and refugees

The Rundown

G’day mates! Word on the street is that the Land of Aus has a brand new Wizard, and a very accomplished one at that. The 2013 Australian Federal Elections gave rise to not only a new leader, but an entirely new party. The Australian Labor Party has had hold of the island since the 2007 federal election, where Kevin Rudd defeated a 12 year reign of the Liberal/National Coalition Party and Prime Minister John Howard. Tony Abbott has now successfully broken a two term control by the Labor Party and the Coalition Party has once again gained dominance, thus making Tony Abbott the new Prime Minister of Australia. To make this situation more relatable, think of the Labor Party as center-left Democrats and the Coalition as center-right Republicans. Now, as we often see in America, the election of an entirely new political party happens mainly due to distaste of the current party in power and its representatives.  It is easy to believe that this was the case for the recent party switch in Australia; why, you may ask? Let me explain.

The years from 2007 to 2013 (the reign of the Labor Party) in Australia were not particularly bad ones. There were several hiccups here and there, but overall, Australia flourished under its fearless leaders, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. Kevin Rudd, an avid sinophile – he loves and respects all things Chinese – strengthened Australia’s relations with the growing country exponentially, and he in turn strengthened the Australian economy and foreign relations, even during the global economic crisis of 2008. The Australian economy became very powerful by exporting raw minerals and energy sources to Asian countries. Both leaders, Julia Gillard especially, worked to improve education for all Aussies and raise the literacy rates for their country. Things seemed to be going well for the great Australia, and for the Labor Party, but what, then, caused people to lose faith in their Prime Ministers? Instability.

The back-and-forth nature of political leaders during this period brought a general distaste for the Labor Party. This all began in 2010, just before the federal election. On June 23rd 2010, Julia Gillard was informed that many had lost faith in Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and she in turn asked him to resign or to hold a leadership election the next day – a leadership election is an election for Prime Minister within the leading political party between two political leaders. Rudd, reluctant to step down, called for a leadership election. Hours before the election he withdrew his candidacy and thus resigned as Prime Minister; Gillard was sworn in several hours later. In August of 2010, the federal election took place between Julia Gillard and our very own Tony Abbott. This election caused the first hung parliament in Australia since 1940; Gillard gained support of outside parties and broke the hung parliament (you can see how the leadership election is already causing dissatisfaction). Gillard is again sworn in as Prime Minister and appoints Kevin Rudd as Minister of Foreign Affairs, putting him back on the political stage. This was not the end of the mayhem. Rudd resigned from his position in February 2012 because of a failed attempt to challenge Gillard for leadership; he seemed to have given up. But, just as before, in June before the next federal election, Gillard announced a vote for leadership due to rising tensions in the Labor Party. Rudd wins the election and is once again sworn in as Prime Minister in June 2013. Initially, there was a rise in the opinion polls, but when the federal elections rolled around in August, Tony Abbott defeats Kevin Rudd and the rest is history. Tony Abbott was sworn in as the 28th Prime Minister of Australia in September 2013.

As you can see, it is easy to believe that the general public in Australia grew weary of the Labor Party due to the countless changes in leadership. The second things seemed to be going downhill for either Rudd or Gillard, they would shy away from their duties and call upon a new leader to deal with the problems. It is difficult to have faith in a leader and a political party that does not seem to have faith in themselves. Now this is by no means the only reason Tony Abbott was elected, but it most definitely did not hurt his campaign. All I can say is that I am glad these leadership elections are not a possibility in America; we would have a new president every day!

Okay, so who is this Abbott fellow and what are his plans for the great island/country/continent known as Australia? Anthony John Abbott is an accomplished Australian politician that was born in London, England to Australian parents. He returned to Australia at the age of three and has been making his mark ever since. Abbott holds both an Economics and Law degree from the University of Sydney and has a Masters of Arts (Politics and Philosophy) from Oxford. He was a Rhodes Scholar and is the author of four books. No coalition leader has ever held more ministerial experience than Mr. Abbott, in both senses of the word “ministerial.”  Prior to his involvement in politics, Abbott trained as a catholic priest, which explains his opposition of abortion, same-sex marriage, and stem cell research. He has also held many positions in the Coalition government, including the Parliament Member for Warringah, a Parliamentary Secretary, a Minister, a Member of the Cabinet, and the Leader of the House of Representatives. Impressive resume, to say the least; he is like that boy you sat next to in high school that waved his 100 percent tests in your face every morning. Let’s just say that he deserves to be Prime Minister; he has worked his butt off to get there.

The Coalition and Tony Abbott have a lot planned for Australia, but they are going to focus mainly on immigration and “stopping the boats,” and foreign affairs. After the Labor Party’s lax attitude toward immigration, Abbott feels as though they must fix the damage that has been done by taking control of the borders. The Coalition plans to restore the idea of Temporary Protections Visas (TPVs) to assure that no permanent visas will be granted to illegal arrivals claiming to be refugees. The TPVs will not exceed 3 years in duration and will work under a “mutual obligation” principle: holders must work for their benefits. They also plan to establish a “Fast Track Assessment and Removal” process modeled after the Detained Fast Track system in the United Kingdom, which will resolve immigration claims as soon as possible. According to the exact policy documents, “The Coalition will restore sovereignty to our borders and ensure a fairer humanitarian intake system.” In regards to foreign affairs, Abbott plans to continue on with the plans of Kevin Rudd and focus on relations with the Asia-Pacific region—their regional neighbors. As I said previously, their relationship with Asia has really helped Australia grow economically by the exportation of raw minerals, but this may not last very long. For some reason, this growth has slowed recently. This is in part possibly due to a slowing economy in the Asia Pacific region. Also, the future of the ever-powerful China may not be as bright as it seems, as their economy seems to be leveling out. Australia will need to find other reliable partners in the Asia-Pacific region to invest in their natural resources and may even need to strengthen their long-standing relationships with the United States and the UK. If you are interested in more of the plans of the Coalition Government in Australia, their government policies can be found at http://www.liberal.org.au/our-policies.

To add to the mayhem, Australia and Tony Abbott’s Coalition Government just recently encountered a major roadblock that may hurt the future of Australia and their relationship with neighboring country Indonesia. It has been released that Australian intelligence was “spying” on Indonesia regarding trade disputes with the United States. Australia was able to tap into a U.S. Law firm that was representing Indonesia in a trade law dispute with the United States. A top-secret document then revealed that Australia had notified the United States National Security Agency that it was conducting such surveillance. The Australian Government and Prime Minister Tony Abbott refused to comment directly on intelligence matters. As far as Abbott is concerned, Australia’s relationship with Indonesia will stay strong and continue to grow, but Indonesia is not so keen on this idea. This will have a strong impact on their already wounded relationship from issues regarding asylum seekers, and may cause terrible consequences for the Australian economy.

So what is next for the mighty Australia? Will Tony Abbott’s future as Prime Minister be as impressive as his resume, or will a slowing economy and other undeniable problems hit him like a ton of bricks and crush the Coalition Government and its hopes for Australia?



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