Tony Abbott says voters 'overwhelmingly' want him to remain in public life.

By political reporter Anna Henderson

Toppled prime minister Tony Abbott appears to be extending the self-imposed deadline he put in place to decide on his political future.

Mr Abbott has been on the backbench since the mid-September spill that saw him voted out of the top job and replaced by Malcolm Turnbull.

Soon after his ousting, Mr Abbott said he would consider his future options after Christmas.

Today Mr Abbott told Sky News he won’t “rush into a final decision”.

He said there was a groundswell of support for him to stay on.

“I’ve had literally thousands and thousands of messages of support and encouragement since mid-September,” Mr Abbott said.

“I’ve had a lot of people talk to me as I get around the electorate and still to some extent around the country and the message that I’m getting from them, overwhelmingly, is that I still have a contribution to make to our public life.”

The ABC understands no pre-selection date has been settled for Mr Abbott’s Sydney seat of Warringah.

Cabinet Minister Christopher Pyne said the former prime minister can still play a role.

“He has a great contribution to make to public life, whether that is in Parliament or whether that is as an activist for his own particular political causes outside the Parliament,” Mr Pyne said.

“He’s one of the smartest people and best educated people that has led the nation and he will always make a great contribution to Australian political life.”

Mr Pyne said he remained a close personal friend to Mr Abbott, but that the relationship had become strained in recent times.

Mr Abbott’s departure from Kirribilli House has prompted some online shopping, including the purchase of a second-hand fridge from the classifieds website Gumtree.

According to the previous owners, Mr Abbott and his wife Margie personally collected the bargain in Sydney on the weekend.


This post originally appeared on ABC Online.

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