The campaign to defeat Tony Abbott on FOUR CORNERS

Four Corners


“This is the fight of my life, and I think I'm up for it.” Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott has been many things; a Rhodes scholar, an MP, a brutally effective Opposition leader and a triumphant Prime Minister, only to be deposed by his colleagues.  He is seen as one of the most combative figures in politics and a warrior for conservative voices. Now, after 25 years in federal parliament, the Liberal MP for Warringah says he is in the fight of his political life.

“I think that Tony Abbott's time in politics has come, and gone.”  Peter Fitzsimons, columnist

“I think it’s all just to oust Tony Abbott and I just think it’s nasty.”  Warringah voter

Ahead of Saturday’s vote, Four Corners has been documenting the unfolding campaign. On Monday the program will examine how the seat was won and lost and what that means for the future of the Liberal Party.

“It is a very seminal moment in the history of the Liberal Party.” Alan Jones, broadcaster

The program examines how an insurgency from within the seat of Warringah began and shows the forces that have shaped it. 

Mr Abbott’s challenger is the independent candidate, Zali Steggall, who has sought to turn the vote into a virtual referendum on climate change, transforming the issue that’s made him a hero of the right, into potential political poison on home soil.

“I'm their worst nightmare.” Zali Steggall, independent candidate

The contest has also been defined by the involvement of powerful political activist organisations like GetUp and Advance Australia, leading many political watchers to say we are now operating in a new realm of politics.

“The more effective we are the more they’ll fight back.” Paul Oosting, GetUp

“GetUp are… the most powerful political organisation outside the union movement.” Gerard Benedet, Advance Australia

The result will have powerful ramifications far beyond the seat of Warringah, with many believing the result will determine the future of the Liberal Party.

The fight of his life, reported by Sean Nicholls, goes to air on Monday 20th May at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 21st May at 1.00pm and Wednesday 22nd  at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at

FOUR CORNERS - Monday 20 May 2019 at 8:30pm