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Abbott open to return as PM

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has not ruled out a crack at getting back onto the frontbench and a push for party leader if he retains his seat of Warringah at the federal election next year.

“I don’t rule any of those things out,” Mr Abbott told The Australian newspaper.

“I’m 61, which is not old. I’m Australia’s best-known backbencher.”

Mr Abbott said he was aware of moves within Liberal ranks to use his role in the leadership chaos to oust him, but insisted he had no role to play in former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s resignation in August.

“Unfortunately, Malcolm was the real author of his demise by, first of all, persisting for too long with the policy he should have know our partyroom was never going to be comfortable with. And second, bunging on a spill motion he didn’t have to, which exposed the fragility of his own support.”

He also said Prime Minister Scott Morrison had not made his explanation about the leadership change “crystal clear”.

Mr Abbott holds the Sydney seat of Warringah by 11.1 per cent but is facing a strong ‘anti-Abbott campaign’ co-ordinated by grassroots groups and GetUp to oust him from the electorate.

On criticism about his approach to climate change, Mr Abbott said he believed it is significant but not a “first-rank” issue.

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