Australian PM: Tony Abbott was once too drunk for Parliament

2017-08-25 06:13
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott  (File, Josh Wilson, AFP)

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (File, Josh Wilson, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Canberra - Australia's prime minister confirmed on Friday that his predecessor and intra-party rival Tony Abbott had once been too drunk to vote in Parliament, an incident that's been a poorly kept secret in political circles for eight years.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Melbourne Radio 3AW on Friday that he was opposition leader in 2009 when Abbott was incapable of voting against government legislation to massively increase economic stimulus spending.

Abbott replaced Turnbull as leader of the conservative Liberal Party late in 2009 and became prime minister before Turnbull ousted Abbott in a party ballot in 2015.

"I was disappointed, but you've got to move on with these things," Turnbull told Melbourne Radio 3AW of Abbott's inebriation.

"I can't remember anyone else missing a vote because they were too drunk to get into the chamber," he added.


Turnbull told the truth over the episode after media reported that Abbott had finally confessed in a television interview that will be screened on September 5.

Abbott said he had gone to sleep on his office couch after he'd been drinking wine with two party colleagues.

"The impact was rather greater than it should have been," the Herald Sun newspaper quoted him as saying.

"I lay down, and the next thing knew it was morning," he added.

Turnbull said party officials responsible for making sure lawmakers were available for votes, known as whips, could not wake Abbott.

"There was nothing we could do," Turnbull said.

"The whips tried to rouse him to get him down into the chamber to vote but they were unable to move him," he added.


Turnbull said the need for lawmakers to attend every vote was now even greater, since the ruling coalition has a single-seat majority in the House of Representatives, where parties need a majority to govern.

Abbott previously said he had missed the vote because he was tired after days of working as a volunteer firefighter. He dismissed a journalist's question of whether he had been drunk as "impertinent."

Abbott remains a government lawmaker and retains strong support from his party's hard-right faction. He has become a vocal critic of the Turnbull administration's policy direction, as the government lags behind the centre-left opposition Labour Party in successive opinion polls.

Abbott and Turnbull are now on opposite sides of Australia's gay marriage debate. Abbott is campaigning against same-sex marriage ahead of a national postal survey on the subject next month, while Turnbull supports marriage equality.

Abbott did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Read more on:    malcolm turnbull  |  tony abbott  |  australia

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Senior PHP Developer

Cape Town
Mass Staffing Projects
R480 000 - R720 000 Per Year

Sales Representative

Cape Town
Pax Staffing Dynamix (Pty) Ltd
R8 000 - R25 000 Per Month

Mobile Developer

Cape Town
Goldman Tech Resourcing
R360 000 - R480 000 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.