Beaten Abbott to get $300k a year
THERE is always a silver lining.
Tony Abbott's political career ended in abrupt and arguably humiliating fashion on Saturday night as he was crushed by independent Zali Steggall in the seat he'd held for 25 years.
So in one sense, it was not a great night for the former prime minister.
But perhaps Mr Abbott can find consolation in the extra $100,000 he's going to get every year as a result of his defeat.
The annual base salary for a backbencher in parliament is $207,100. That is what Mr Abbott has been getting since he lost the leadership in 2015, and it's what he would have continued to earn if he'd retained Warringah.
Now, as a former prime minister who has left parliament, Mr Abbott will receive an annual pension of $307,542.
That's obviously not quite as nice as the $539,338 salary he earned when he was in the top job, but hey, we all face struggles in life.
If he prefers, Mr Abbott can take half the pension as an upfront lump sum of $1.53 million and reduce his annual payment to $153,771. Not a bad choice to face.
Maybe this helps explain why Mr Abbott didn't seem too cut up about losing when he addressed his supporters in Warringah on election night and conceded to Ms Steggall.
He told them his personal fortunes were less important than the Coalition's broader success against Labor.
"We've got good news and yes, we've got a little bit of bad news," Mr Abbott said.
"The good news is that there's every chance the Liberal-National Coalition has won this election."
He turned out to be right, of course, though he was one of the first people on election night to make that prediction. News.com.au currently projects Scott Morrison will end up with a majority government.
Mr Abbott said the party could be "more confident than we ever had any right to expect" that the Coalition would continue to govern.
"I always knew it was going to be tough here in Warringah," he admitted.
"I can't say it doesn't hurt to lose … but so be it. I'd rather be a loser than a quitter."
That last comment felt like a subtle swipe at the man who took Mr Abbott's job in 2015, Malcolm Turnbull. When Mr Turnbull was replaced last year, he immediately quit parliament, sparking a by-election in Wentworth.
Mr Abbott congratulated Ms Steggall on her "magnificent win", drawing boos from his crowd of supporters, which he waved away.
Ms Steggall, a former Olympian and barrister who made climate change policy the centrepiece of her campaign, struggled to be heard over the crowd chanting her name at her own election night party.
"Tonight, Warringah definitely voted for the future," she said.
"And you all showed that when communities want change, they make it happen.
"This is a win for moderates with a heart."
She paid tribute to Mr Abbott for his long service to the electorate, which he had served in parliament since 1994.
"Nobody can doubt his community spirit, his work ethic and his contribution to his community," Ms Steggall said.
She reiterated her commitment to action on climate change, pledging to be a leader on the issue when she gets to Canberra.
"Warringah, we have a new beginning for our environment. I will keep the government to account," she said.
Speaking to reporters the following day, Ms Steggall seemed optimistic about her chances of influencing Mr Morrison to take greater action.
"Mr Abbott was, I think, very negative when it came to progress on climate change policy and I think now is an opportunity for Mr Morrison to get on with the job," she said.
"The major person who has been against climate change action, I think, is probably Mr Abbott."