Tony Abbott: Ousted Australian Prime Minister's most controversial moments

From helping women with their household duties to getting rid of those 'visually awful' wind farms

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The Independent Online

Tony Abbott has been ousted as Australia’s Prime Minister after Malcolm Turnbull won the leadership for the Liberal Party. Here we take a look at the outgoing PM's most controversial moments.


Mr Abbott was filmed winking at an ABC radio host when he was told a caller he was about to be introduced to was a phone sex worker. The woman informed the Prime Minister she had been forced to work on a phone sex hotline to make ends meet. Unfortunately for Mr Abbott, he appeared to have forgotten he was being filmed.


Liberal candidate has 'sex appeal’

While still opposition leader Mr Abbott decided to describe a young female Liberal candidate Fiona Scott as having “sex appeal”.

When questioned about the similarities between the young hopeful and the former Liberal MP Jackie Kelly who had previously held the seat in Lindsay, he said: “They’e both good, young, feisty - I think I could probably say have a bit of sex appeal - and are just very connected to the local community.”

Reducing 'visually awful wind farms’

Mr Abbott believes coal is "good for humanity” and this summer bragged about slashing the number of “visually awful" wind farms built in Australia for renewable energy purposes.

He told a right-wing radio host, Alan Jones: “I frankly would have liked to have reduced the number a lot more. But we got the best deal we could, and if we hadn’t had a deal, we would have been stuck with even more of these things… I’ve been up close to these wind farms, there’s no doubt that not only are they visually awful but they make a lot of noise.”


Helping women with domestic duties

The PM declared last year that, as Minister for Women, his top achievement for women was repealing carbon tax, as it meant saving families a total of $550 (£286) a year. Speaking to Nine Network, he said: “Well, you know, it is very important to do the right thing by families and households.

“As many of us know, women are particularly focussed on the household budget.”

Stop the boats

Australia’s highly controversial “Operation Sovereign Borders” has been aimed at stopping maritime arrivals of asylum seekers after a number of deaths occurred off the country's shores. Mr Abbott told European leaders to “stop the boats” if they wanted to deal with the refugee crisis after 1,300 asylum seekers died in the Mediterranean in a single week.

“The only way you can stop the deaths is to stop the people smuggling trade.

“The only way to stop the deaths is, in fact, to stop the boats.”


Comparing stopping terrorism to stopping asylum seekers

In May this year, during a speech discussing the Australian government’s anti-terror measures, Mr Abbott said: "We need the same drive, focus and clarity of purpose to countering terrorism that resulted in stopping the boats under Operation Sovereign Borders”.

Australia's ‘Irish heritage’

This year Mr Abbott released a video celebrating St Patrick’s Day, in which he declared: “It's been said of us that the English made the laws, the Scots made the money and the Irish made the songs.”

One of the many people to disagree with this sentiment was Irish Prime Minister Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who responded: “There has been a long-term view of a stage Irish perception. I reject that.”

‘Shirtfronting’ Putin

“I’m going to shirtfront Mr Putin - you bet I am," Mr Abbott told reporters ahead of the G20 summit last year over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which killed 38 Australian citizens.

“I’m going to be saying to Mr Putin Australians were murdered, they were murdered by Russian-backed rebels.”

Abbott-Putin-Apec.jpgBut when it came to it, the Prime Minister seemed to go back on his word, and reportedly had a conversation with the Russian President that was “measured and respectful in tone”.

Knighting Prince Philip

In January this year many questioned whether Mr Abbott had confused Australia Day with April Fool's Day when the PM announced the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, was to be knighted in recognition of his contribution to Australia over the course of Her Royal Highness’s reign.

"Prince Philip has been a great servant of Australia,” he said. “I'm just really pleased that in his 90s, towards the end of a life of service and duty, we in this country are able to properly acknowledge what he's done for us."