Sunday, March 10, 2013

Here's what Tony Abbott said on 60 Minutes

Tony Abbott appeared on 60 Minutes tonight, interviewed by Liz Hayes, and also featuring his family including his sister, lesbian Christine Forster.

Mr Abbott, who many tip to be Australia's next Prime Minister, was being tested as to whether his views of the past were current today or whether he could successfully present himself as a changed, '21st century man'.

Here is some of what he had to say:

When Liz Hayes suggested that he was only person who could stop himself becoming Prime  Minister, Abbott said that he often will 'warn the party that we could stop ourselves winning, it often happens.'

Asked if Julia Gillard's now famous misogyny speech - directed mainly at Abbott - had hurt him politically: 'In the end, I guess, we’ll find out on polling day but it wasn’t true and it wasn’t fair.'

In regards to some of his comment about homosexuality and abortion in the past he said:  'I’ve certainly said some things I'd would not say now… Because like everyone who's had a long time in public life - in particular - I've changed and I'd like to think that I've grown.'

Liz Hayes spoke of his strong Catholic faith and upbringing and whether he could guarantee it would not impact his policies: 'Yes I can. Faith is important to me... it's important to million of Australians. It helps to shape who I am, helps to shape my values but it must never, never shape my politics.

Specifically faced with anti-abortion comments, he said, 'For any women facing an unexpected pregnancy, the choices are tough.'

Abbott admitted that he and his sister Christine disagree on gay marriage, but she strongly endorsed him as being accepting of her and her female partner.

'It came as a bit of a shock when someone who is close to you, who you've always thought of in a particular light, tells you that they're now to be seen in a different light. Nevertheless I think I was probably reasonably unfazed by it [Christine revealing she was a lesbian].

'We've had many and sometimes heated conversations' over gay marriage, and Christine 'hopes the decision of the party room changes'.

Other signs of his 21st century credentials included his admission that while he doesn't dye his hair, he does use ‘product’.

And when reminded that his mum had said she thought he'd either become the Pope or the Prime Minister - both jobs currently up for grabs - he suggested it was her getting carried away.

'I don’t want to jinx myself by getting too cocky, too soon. This is the supreme challenge of my life and I don’t want to let myself down and I don't want to let down the millions of Australian who want a change in government.'

And do people think Tony Abbott is a changed man? As of 8.40pm, 2347 people said yes and 3799 said no - about a 60-40 split. 

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