'Nauru Is A Very Pleasant Island' And Other WTF Things Tony Abbott Has Said

Australia's former Prime Minister seems to think adults and children asylum seekers on Nauru *really* are living in paradise.

During a radio interview in Sydney on Monday, Tony Abbott was asked about a recent poll that found a majority of Australians want children and their families taken off the tiny nation of Nauru and resettled in New Zealand.

“Nauru is no hellhole by any means, I’ve been there. If you like living in the tropics, it’s a very, very pleasant island," he contested.

Tell that to senior United Nations officials who found conditions for refugees "shocking", not to mention that Human Rights Watch labeled Australia's offshore detention policy there as "cruel".

This isn't the first time, however, Abbott's contentious opinions have made headlines.

READ MORE: Abbott A 'Miserable Ghost', Turnbull Says

READ MORE: 'Ignorant' And 'Offensive' Tony Abbott Offered Indigenous Envoy Role

INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS

Appointed "Special Envoy for Indigenous Affairs" by PM Scott Morrison in August, Abbott's at times thoughtless remarks over the years were quickly remembered by First Nations people.

During a breakfast in Sydney for then British PM David Cameron in 2014, he boasted: "As we look around this glorious city, as we see the extraordinary development, it’s hard to think that back in 1788 it was nothing but bush."

That same year at an economic conference in Melbourne, he said Australia owed its existence "to a form of foreign investment by the British government in the then-unsettled or scarcely settled great south land."

"British settlement was not foreign investment. It was occupation," Labor Senator Nova Peris said at the time.

When Abbott confirmed his role as Special Envoy this year, Senator Patrick Dodson was vocal in his disappointment.

“First Nations people have been asking to have a voice where their views are put forward themselves, rather than by some sort of intermediary whose record quite frankly is appalling," he stated.

WOMEN AND GENDER ISSUES

When he was Opposition Leader in 2010, Abbott decided a new emissions trading scheme would somehow hurt "housewives".

"What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it's going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up," he said during an appearance in Queanbeyan, NSW.

During the 2014 election campaign, Abbott was caught winking mid-interview to a radio host when a phone sex worker called in to discuss the Budget.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young called him a “total creep” at the time.

“Rather than taking seriously her concerns of poverty and illness he gave a wink and a smirk, and all I have to say to the PM on this is what a creep. What a total creep,” she said.

He also quipped about the similarities he saw between then candidate for the NSW electorate of Lindsay, Fiona Scott, and predecessor Jackie Kelly in 2010.

Tony Abbott and Fiona Scott, Liberal candidate for Lindsay, August 2010. Image: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.

“They’re young, feisty, I think I can probably say have a bit of sex appeal and they’re just very connected with the local area," he fawned.

And this corker from a Sydney Uni student paper he wrote in the 1970s: “I think it would be folly to expect women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons."

"IS IT TOO LATE NOW TO SAY SORRY?"

Abbott was forced to apologise when he was Health Minister in 2005 after making a joke at a Liberal Party function about then NSW Liberal leader John Brogden, hours after he had attempted suicide.

He apologised two years later for harsh comments about social justice campaigner Bernie Banton, who had called Abbott a "gutless creep" after he missed their meeting about asbestos-disease sufferers.

"I know Bernie is very sick, but just because a person is sick doesn't necessarily mean he's pure of heart in all things," Abbott told the Nine Network at the time.

During Question Time in February 2015, Abbott accused Labor of causing a "holocaust of job losses" and offered yet another apology after instant outcry.

QUICK HITS
  • "It's a long time, thank God, since gay people have been discriminated against," he argued in an Op-Ed for The Sydney Morning Herald last year.
  • He said he "probably feels a bit threatened" by homosexuality during a March 2010 interview with 60 Minutes.
  • "Jesus knew that there was a place for everything, and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia" on Q and A in 2010.
  • "Abortion is the easy way out. It’s hardly surprising people should choose the most convenient exit from awkward situations," he said in a 2004 interview.
  • "It's pretty obvious that, well, sometimes shit happens, doesn't it?" he said in a discussion about the death of Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney in 2011.
  • "The Nazis did terrible evil, but they had a sufficient sense of shame to try to hide it," he remarked during a 2015 interview about ISIS.
  • "It’s climate change policy that’s doing harm. Climate change itself is probably doing good; or at least, more good than harm," he told The Guardian last year.

Featured Image: Getty Images

Contact the author: samelia@networkten.com.au