Tony Abbott was elected as the Leader of the Opposition, the Liberal Party, in December 2009.
During his political career the media have often criticised him for his strong faith. Tony Abbott is a committed Catholic, who atended a Jesuit Catholic high school and actually attended a Roman CatholicÂ theological seminary (St. Patrick's Seminary, Manly) to train to be a priest -Â after two years he decidedÂ that the life of a priest was not for him.Â
On pro-life conscience issues such as abortion and stem cell research he has consistently voted and spoken up for life.
In 2004, heÂ spoke openly about theÂ high rate of abortions in Australia - read his speech here.Â
As a result the Parliamentary Library conducted an investigation into the actual number of abortions in Australia each year.Â
This webpage doesn't address policy and political matters. It focuses onÂ statements about faith and related matters made by Mr Abbott inÂ the media, including issues such as evolution and homosexuality.
December 2009 - Evolution
When Tony Abbott was asked by Laurie Oakes about his views on evolution in early December 2009, he saw it as an attack on his Christian faith. He respondedÂ by challenging Laurie Oakes to ask the same question of Mr Rudd.
The Australian reported the interview, writing thatÂ Mr AbbottÂ saidÂ his faith was "not out there in the political marketplace". "I don't do doorsteps in front of church, Laurie," Mr Abbott said. "I mean, if there's one person who's put religion front and centre in the public square, to use his phrase, it's Kevin Rudd. "So please, next time Kevin's here, grill him on evolution and all these other subjects. to ask Kevin Rudd the same sort of questions!
[In a later interview, Mr Rudd was asked the same question - click here to read his response saying he agreed with evolution.]
As to Mr Abbott's views on evolution, he said on his own blog last year, in response to an ongoing discussion with a contributor, "I don't say that evolution is a complete and entirely satisfactory scientific explanation of the origin of man. Still, I think it's more plausible than treating the Adam and Eve story as literal truth (if that's what creationists say)." But he engaged in a lengthy and ongoing discussion with a person writing on the subject.
January 2010 - Virginity and his daughters
In an interview with theÂ Women's Weekly Tony Abbott was asked what advice he would give his daughters about sex before marriage.
Most media commentators accused him of telling all women not to have sex. Deputy PM Julia Gillard accused him of 'lecturing women'.
However, they missed the context of the article, which was a question about what hisÂ personal advice on sex before marriage would be to his own daughters if they asked for it!
He said: "I would say to my daughters, if they were to ask me this question... it is the greatest gift you can give someone, the ultimate gift of giving, and don't give it to someone lightly."
In the interview he also said he would like to see less abortions.
Read his comments on sex, along withÂ a Christian comment on the issue on MercatorNet.
ReadÂ ABC reportÂ - Abbott lecturing women about virginity: Gillard - 26/1/2010.
January 2010 - Teaching about the Bible
When Tony Abbott said that students should have an understanding of the great texts, including the Bible, critics came out in force.
He actually told the Herald Sun "I think everyone should have some familiarity with the great texts that are at the core of our civilisation. That includes, most importantly, the Bible. I think it would be impossible to have a good general education without at least some serious familiarity with the Bible and with the teachings of Christianity. That doesn't mean that people have to be believers."
However the Herald Sun started theÂ article as though Tony Abbott was calling for Bible study classes and Bible reading!
The article in the Herald Sun started out with their 'interpretation':
"BIBLE classes should be compulsory so children have a fundamental understanding of Christianity on leaving school, federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says."
Ben-Peter Terpstra has written an excellent article responding to Mr Abbott's comments and the response from the media.
QED - Abbott and the Bible
by Ben-Peter Terpstra - January 31, 2010, Quadrant Online.Â
"Tony Abbott's pro-Bible statements outraged his opponents. And the reason is obvious to all with marbles. In socialist circles, encouraging pupils to study Judeo-Christian texts is a sin. The Australian Education Unionâ€™s federal president, Angelo Gavrielatos, ritually sniffed at the idea. Abbott was attacked by an Islamic intellectual, Dr Ameer Ali too. The Rudd government also sent backbencher Kate Lundy out to stage future quote-crime scenes. The hysterical ACT Senator cried, â€śMr Abbott wants to take the choice away from parents and force every kid in every school to study the Bible.â€ť
However Ben-Peter TerpstraÂ went on to point out that even pominent atheist Christopher Hitchens says you must have an understanding of the Bible to be properly educated...
"Even the sulky atheist Christopher Hitchens openly acknowledges, â€śYou are not educated if you donâ€™t know the Bible. You canâ€™t read Shakespeare or Milton without it â€¦ And with the schools now, they donâ€™t even teach it as a document â€¦ So kids canâ€™t quote the King James Bible. Thatâ€™s terrible.â€ťÂ ... "
Read the full article: QED - Abbott and the Bible
April 2010 - Easter - An article by the 7.30 Report's Chris Uhlmann
God, the Christian socialist and the mad monk
By Chris Uhlmann, ABC. Thu Apr 1, 2010
"Over Easter the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader will participate in rites that many see as ridiculous.
They will be reflecting on the last days of a Jew who died in Jerusalem about 2,000 years ago. On Thursday they ritually recreated his last meal and today they will remember the moment he was executed.Â Then they will celebrate the impossible; that this man rose from the dead.
Under the confessions both follow this cannot be explained as a metaphorical resurrection, a rebirth in the minds and hearts of his followers. As Paul wrote: "If Christ did not rise, your faith is vain".
So is faith a vanity, a delusion? Maybe it is. To many the story of Christ is just another fable. The atheists are right. Faith, of any kind, has always been absurd. It defies logic and offends science. Yet people believe.
The older I get the less certain I become and the more bewildered I am by the unshakable convictions of both strident believers and atheists.
However, I am certain that I have little time for those who hold believers in contempt. And I have begun to suspect that, in the West, science is assuming the altar once carved out for Godâ€¦.
He then goes on to talk about Mr Rudd and Mr Abbott in more detailâ€¦
March - April 2010: Homosexuality
Perhaps Mr Abbott was trying to avoid controversy, by changing his statement on his view of homosexuality after an initial comment. He had a number ofÂ responses about homosexuality in earlyÂ 2010.
In March 2010, he was asked by 60 Minutes reporter Liz Hayes about his view on homosexuality:
Tony replied "I'd probably I feel a bit threatened... as so many people".
She questioned what he meant by 'threatened' and he replied with a somewhat softer line: "Again, Liz, look, it's a fact of life and I try to treat people as people and not put them in pigeonholes."
He toldÂ Lateline on ABC soon after that "There is no doubt that it challenges, if you like, orthodox notions of the right order of things" but said that "The truth is I try to take people as I find them."
Two weeks later - after being challenged by homosexual activists about his comments, Tony Abbott was interviewed on air by Melbourne homosexual radio station Joy FM.
The SMH writes that, when Tony was asked asked about the 60 Minutes interview, he said "Yeah, look it was a poor choice of words," he said. "Look, I think blokes of my generation and upbringing do sometimes find these things a bit confronting."
TheÂ Joy FMÂ reporter asked him about his view on recognising relationships: "Would you support a federal relationships recognition act which covered the whole country, which gave us the equivalent of marriage?"
Mr Abbott replied: "In principle, yes. I am in favour of stable, enduring relationships. Iâ€™m in favour of people keeping their commitments to people. Now, I would be very sympathetic to some institutional arrangement which encouraged that across the board rather than in just what might be described as the more common or more traditional contexts."
He addedÂ "I would like to see a way for gay relationships to be celebrated, acknowledged and recognised, but precisely how that is best done I think needs to be discussed widely."
When asked about the possibility of federal laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, he noted that the Coalition had supported the changing of 85 laws to 'remove discrimination - he added "the Liberal Party is against all forms of discrimination.Â That's our general principle."
Read the transcript of the interview.Â
They areÂ Tony Abbott's own words - supporting theÂ recognition of homosexual relationships and discrimination laws based on sexuality!