In his first interview since being deposed as Prime Minister, Tony Abbott has said he is too young to retire and will consider his future over the next few months while he serves as a backbencher in the Australian parliament.
He also defended his legacy, saying he had laid the foundations for the Coalition to be re-elected at the next election.
Speaking for the first time since he lost the Liberal leadership ballot to Malcolm Turnbull 13 days ago, Abbott told The Weekend Australian's Dennis Shanahan and Paul Kelly that he wanted to continue his role in public life.
"I'm going to be thinking about my future over the next few months and in the meantime I will be a solid member of the parliamentary backbench for the first time in 19 and a half years," he said.
"I'm too young to retire and I certainly want to have some kind of role in our public life in the years to come. Precisely how I might give effect to that is something I will decide in coming months.
"I want to be able to serve my country in the months and years ahead but precisely what form that takes, it may be no more than continuing to serve in the Davidson fire brigade," the 57 year old said.
Mr Abbott also said that it was "in the nation's interest" that Malcolm Turnbull be re-elected as Prime Minister and that his leadership had provided a "strong foundation" for Coalition success at an election next year.
"Whatever else the changes of last week were about, they plainly weren't about policy. The fact that the new Prime Minister and the new Treasurer are saying exactly the same thing today that the former Prime Minister and former Treasurer were saying only a fortnight ago shows that we got it right," Mr Abbott said.
“Interestingly, just as nothing has changed on economic policy in the last fortnight, nothing’s changed on climate change policy in the last fortnight, nothing’s changed in respect of same-sex marriage in the last fortnight and nothing’s changed in respect of border protection in the last fortnight, and I don’t imagine anything will change in national security policy more broadly.”
Mr Abbott also said he thought his government hadn't received the credit it deserved.
"It was a government that didn't get the credit it deserved but nevertheless it was a government that got on with things with an eye for the future," he said.
Mr Abbott admitted feeling bruised by the leadership spill but said he would not set himself up as a rival to the new Prime Minister.Suggest a correction