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Tony Abbott sent a fax to resign as prime minister

An early fax machine, 1928. Photo: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Perhaps it’s a sly dig at Malcolm Turnbull, who in the 1990s, grew rich from his stake in the internet company Ozemail, but when the time came for Tony Abbott to resign his commission as prime minister today, he broke with tradition and didn’t head to Yarralumla, governor-general Sir Peter Gosgrove’s residence, to inform him personally. He didn’t even email.

Veteran political correspondent Laurie Oakes reports that the former PM sent a fax to tender his resignation.

For millennials going “what?” right now, facsimile machines were popular technology in the 1990s and the era of dial up internet, a sort of photocopier-meets-telephone that played a starring role in Back to the Future II. Its history actually dates back 150 years.

Perhaps, like the former PM’s love for knights and dames, it shows Abbott preferred a world slightly older than the one that currently exists.

But as Faxcore explains, one reason for the fax’s resilience – the modern fax machine notched up 50 years last years – is it remains a relatively secure system that’s difficult to intercept, even over analog telephone line, so it’s good for sending sensitive documents. No that Abbott stepping down was top secret.

But to use a term new prime minister Malcolm Turnbull embraces, the fax industry has suffered considerable disruption, although it remains popular in Japan.

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