Tony Abbott is giving himself a Christmas deadline to decide on the future of his political career

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Australia’s former prime minister, Tony Abbott, has not ruled out the possibility of a retirement from politics before the next election.

In his first interview since his removal as prime minister 13 days ago, Abbott told the Daily Telegraph that he would not be making any “hard and fast decisions this side of Christmas” about his political future.

“Look, I’m not going to make any hard and fast decisions this side of Christmas.

“I think I’m far too young to retire. Obviously I still think I have quite a lot to contribute in public life. Over the next couple of weeks I will take it easy, catch up with family, colleagues and trusted friends.

“In the process I’ll think about what the future might hold. I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life on the golf course.

“I’m happy to serve on the backbench at least for the time being.”

Abbott who was ousted by Malcolm Turnbull in the Liberal leadership ballot just under two weeks ago, has since been decamped from Kirribilli House and taken up his new backbencher’s office next to Bronwyn Bishop in Parliament House.

Abbott joins the list of prime ministers who have lost office over the last five years in Australia’s revolving-door political system.

But the former prime minister, who is now 57, says he is still “too young to retire” and says he will continue to serve a “role in our public life in the years to come” after sitting on the frontbench in both government and opposition for over 19 years.

“Precisely how I might give effect to that is something I will decide in coming months. Obviously I have to speak to the family and colleagues,” Abbott told The Australian.

“I’m going to be thinking about my future over the next few months and in the meantime I will be a solid member of the parliamentary backbench for the first time in 19 1/2 years.”

Abbott will resume his parliamentary duties on the Coalition backbench when parliament returns next month on October 12.

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