Tony Abbott's wife Margie is suddenly very visible as the PM fights to keep his job

Margie and Tony Abbott. Photo: Getty Images

For the better part of her husband’s political career, Margie Abbott has remained mostly out of sight, keeping media appearances to a minimum, except for key political battles, preferring to support from the sidelines.

However, amid the current leadership speculation, the PM’s wife has increased her public profile, saddling up next to Abbott during his National Press Club address this week, garnering several mentions and receiving increased media attention.

Tony Abbott’s chief of staff, Peta Credlin, was noticeably absent during his speech.

The SMH reported that earlier this week Mrs Abbott accompanied her husband on official business and interestingly Credlin was distinctly absent during consultative strategy cabinet meetings.

After his captain’s pick of Prince Philip for a knighthood was met with backlash, commentators, including media mogul Rupert Murdoch, have argued it was Credlin’s job to advise Abbott against the decision.

In December, there were reports of a rift between one of Abbott’s potential leadership contenders, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, and Peta Credlin. Afterwards Abbott defended his chief of staff, querying whether she would suffer the same criticism if she were a man.

The PM’s leadership has suffered reports of political party tension in recent days.

Yesterday, former Liberal minister Arthur Sinodinos, embroiled in controversy of his own, declared the leadership debate was not just political hype and that he personally could not offer Abbott his “unconditional” support.

“I’ve always supported Tony Abbott,” Sinodinos told Sky News.

“My support for him has been based on his performance, his courage, his capacity to make the right calls for the country in opposition and in government.

“But that support ongoing is not unconditional.”

It’s worth remembering that Senator Sinodinos was John Howard’s chief of staff for nearly a decade, so he understands where responsibility lies.

Despite both Julie Bishop and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull publicly denying they will challenge the PM’s leadership, tensions among backbenchers persist.

It the party truly wants change, it looks like Abbott will have to be blasted out.

“I have the full and unanimous support of the cabinet,” the PM said this morning.

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