Former PM’s wife Margie Abbott speaks at Hawks Nest Probus Club

A rapt Probus audience listened to Mrs Abbott’s anecdotal talk.

PROBUS members and visitors were privileged to receive Margaret Abbott, wife of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, at their monthly meeting on Friday, 1 September at Hawks Nest Golf Club.

“I love to see the rain now,” began Mrs Abbott, who recently purchased a property in tank-dependent North Arm Cove.

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A native of New Zealand, Mrs Abbott began her working career by fulfilling a long-held dream to become a teacher, but soon shifted into the business world, which, in turn, brought her across the ditch to Australia.

After meeting Tony Abbott in Sydney, then a journalist with The Bulletin, the rest was history.

“Political spouses are conscripts, not volunteers,” Mrs Abbott said, speaking with candour and providing some refreshingly realistic perspective on the experience.

“I tried to be a supportive spouse, be there as a mother, but the reality was a juggling act,” Mrs Abbott explained, “so I decided that my daughters needed a mother with them.”

The quest for ‘normalcy’ was also, admittedly, not quite practical, with a Federal Police presence outside the family home during Mr Abbott’s time as the PM, however the value of supportive friendship circles could not be underestimated.

Far from idle, Mrs Abbott met many world leaders and their spouses, who sought to improve the world, and even saw the human side of Royalty when Princess Cate and Prince William visited Australia in 2014.

She continued to pursue education, passionately advocating for early education, clearly stating that, “Childcare workers are underpaid.”

Mrs Abbott nodded to the charities and causes that she has had the privilege to support, including the Smith Family, KidsXpress and Motor Neurone Disease, as well as some heartfelt comments on her own fight with breast cancer.

While political topics were mostly eschewed, when asked about the state of gender equality, Mrs Abbott responded, “Politics is an interesting business, women can do just as well as men, not an easy life, takes a hide like a rhinoceros, and a vision.”

By Thomas O’KEEFE

Margaret Abbott enlightens the Hawks Nest Probus Club about life as a PM’s wife.

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