Tony Abbott steps down as prime minister today, just a few days shy of two years running the nation.
In his final address today, he pledged his support to the man who toppled him, Malcolm Turnbull and warned the media to stop allowing anonymous sources to undermine the leadership.
And as “7.30” host Leigh Sales noted poignantly, he’d changed his tie.
Given Tony Abbott always wears a blue tie, I couldn’t help but notice his rich purple one today – a colour associated with faith & mourning.
— Leigh Sales (@leighsales) September 15, 2015
Here’s Tony Abbott’s final address as PM from Parliament House today.
This is not an easy day for many people in this building.
Leadership changes are never easy for this country.
My pledge today is to make this change as easy as I can. There will be no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping.
I’ve never leaked or backgrounded against anyone. And I certainly won’t start now. Our country deserves better than that. I want our government and our country to succeed. I always have and I always will.
I’ve consistently said in opposition and in government that being the Prime Minister is not an end in itself; it’s about the people you serve.
The great privilege that I have had is to see the wonder of this country like few others.
And I want to thank the Australian people for giving me the honour to serve.
Yes, this is a tough day, but when you join the game, you accept the rules.
I’ve held true to what I’ve believed and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved over the past two years. 300,000 more people are in jobs. Labor’s bad taxes are gone. We’ve signed free trade agreements with our largest trading partners, with Japan, with Korea and with China.
The biggest infrastructure program in our country’s history is under way.
A spotlight is being shone into the dark and corrupt corners of the union movement and Labor’s party union business model.
We’ve responded to the threats of terror and we’ve deployed to the other side of the world to bring our loved ones home.
The boats have stopped and with the boats stopped, we’ve been better able to display our compassion to refugees.
Of course, there’s much that I had still wanted to do. Constitutional recognition of Indigenous people. Getting the kids to school, the adults to work and communities safe.
I was the first prime minister to spend a week a year in remote Indigenous Australia. And I hope I’m not the last.
Then there’s the challenge of ice and domestic violence, yet to be addressed.
We have been a government of men and women, not a government of gods walking upon the earth. Few of us, after all, entirely measure up to expectations.
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. And a febrile media culture has developed that rewards treachery.
And 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.
I thank Margie for her grace and dignity throughout my public life.
I thank my party for the privilege of leading it. I thank the armed forces who are serving our country and defending our values, even as we speak.
I thank my staff, who have been absolutely unceasing in their devotion to our party and our country, especially my chief of staff, who has been unfairly maligned by people who should’ve known better.
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.