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Discuss about the Leadership traits of Tony Abbott.



Leadership is important factor for refining the skills and competencies of the followers. An effective leader enhances the positive traits of its followers and suggests them suitable directions through which they can improve. Grohar-Murray et al. (2016) also stated that leadership explains that in order to accomplish any mission or objective, ‘people’ are the most important unit and their traits need to be considered. Stacey (2012) furthermore depicted that leadership helps in overcoming three challenges- generating a shared vision, setting effective objectives and providing strategic direction along with developing effectual strategies.

In this essay the leadership traits of Tony Abbott is taken into consideration. Tony Abbott is an Australian politician born on 4th November 1957 (BBC News 2018). He is the 28th Prime Minister of Australia and served this designation from the September, 2013 to September, 2015 (BBC News 2018). This essay will address the work history, educational background and family background of the leader. The discussion will be followed by the approach of leadership that Tony Abbott had followed and the discussion is also supported by relatable leadership theory and some actions that the leader had taken to demonstrate the effectiveness his leadership style. This essay will also illustrate of the details of the key challenges Tony Abbott had faced as a leader and the process to overcome those challenges. Lastly, an overall conclusion will be presented based on the discussion.



Tony Abbott’s parent was Fay Abbott and Richard Henry Abbott (BBC News 2018). In the year 1960, Tony Abbott’s family migrated to Australia and they settled in Sydney. The primary education of Tony Abbott was from St Aloysius’ College, Sydney and his secondary education was from St. Ignatius’ College, Sydney (BBC News 2018).Tony Abbott has a bachelor’s degree in Economics and after that he has completed his Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in the year 1979 and 1981 respectively (BBC News 2018). He has also accomplished his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from The Queen’s College, Oxford (BBC News 2018). After completing the educational phase, Tony Abbott worked as a journalist in several magazines and newspapers like ‘The Catholic Weekly’, ‘The Australian’ and ‘The Bulletin’ (BBC News 2018). He also trained as a Catholic priest but changed his mind for not continuing and later in Liberal Party, he worked as an adviser from 1994 (BBC News 2018). Tony Abbott has also served as an employment minister under the former PM John Howard from the year 1998 and 2001 and from the year 2003 he served as a minister for health and aging (BBC News 2018).

The leadership style followed by Tiny Abbott is Autocratic leadership style. Bhatti et al. (2012) portrays that in autocratic leadership style, the leaders considered himself as a boss and intends to impose their directions and regulations on the people without giving proper justification. Ng'ethe et al. (2012) furthermore supported this argument by stating that on following this leadership style, the leader cannot assess the final outcome of the people’s response towards their decisions as the leader think their decision is the best and they dent to learn new things. Tony Abbott in this case does the same and follows autocratic leadership style. People think that he misused the prime Minister’s designation and impose some legislation to the Australian economy that is not beneficial for longer run. This action can be best exemplified through an incidence, where Tony Abbott marked “carbon tax repeal” as his greatest achievement during his ministry and according to him the taken action is most beneficial for women. Tony Abbott made the statement that by repealing the carbon tax; household’s average energy bill will be saved up to $210 per year (Shields 2018). However, the common people made a comment that the saving that he had highlighted is negligible compared to the loss that Australia will have to face due to the climate changing impact.


According to another theory of leadership that is democratic leadership theory, Pennock (2015) depicted that an effective leader always informed their followers regarding the changes the leaders planned to implement. The prime reason for this action is to establish a transparent image between the leader and their followers. Tony Abbott desires to follow democratic leadership traits and shared all the planned aspects with the followers. However, the challenge Tony Abbott faced is that he did not kept any of his promise. Some of the promises that he had made to common people was “No local Medicare closures”, “26 weeks of paid parental leave to mothers delivering a budget surplus” and “no negative changes to superannuation” (The Sydney Morning Herald 2018). However, not even a single promise has been kept by Tony Abbott. Rasler and Thompson (2016) stated that a leader with democratic leadership traits, should communicate with their follower in friendly manner and possess a gentle behavior. Tony Abbott on the other hand intends to use a strong language and this is the reason that he has failed to control the more extreme members of his government.


The key challenge that Tony Abbott had faced is during the ban of Carbon Tax as many people opposes this proposal. Those people are more concerned towards the carbon emission changes and the future impact of climate change. The solution that Tony Abbott had taken is to call a double dissolution if anyone tried to stop him. However, the process is completed after eight months without any double dissolution. Esping-Andersen (2017) suggested that in order to stratify the nation’s people, they should be regular informed not only with their promises byt the actions to fulfill the promise. This can be done through broadcasting every action through digital media and newspapers. This will allow the other people to know the actions that the government is taking and to will generate a transparent relation. Another key challenge that the concerned leader have faced is for the budget, NSW election, higher education reforms and COAG meeting (The Sydney Morning Herald 2018). The budget is reformed due to the new incorporation of the aspects from Medicare, welfare, tertiary education and government cuts in SBS and ABC (The Sydney Morning Herald 2018). In the year 2015, the cost-cutting agenda will be continued which is another aspect to face challenge as they are not aware what measures are the public willing or unwilling to tolerate (The Sydney Morning Herald 2018). However, the leader has not taken any steps to overcome this problem to satisfy the community people. In this aspect, Tony Abbott can take feedback from the community people and the level of satisfaction that they shared. Beetham (2013) also stated that investing some time on primary researching on the fact will allow the politician to know the concern of their nation’s member and a better solution could be taken every time. Another challenge that Tony Abbott has to face is government's controversial reforms to tertiary education. Ng'ethe et al. (2012) stated that a deadline has been set to pass the bill by Education Minister Christopher Pyne, but Tony Abbott deregulate university fees, which is an unpopular decisions. The controversy raises more as the bill has been passed to Senate for a second time and for advertising purpose, millions of dollars have been invested (The Sydney Morning Herald 2018). Thus, in this case, a huge amount of cost has been spent but the result is not fruitful if the education of the students is considered. An effective leader will formulate a detailed budget along with the supervision of the finance minister so that a precise budget can be formulated Grohar-Murray et al. (2016). Verba (2015) furthermore suggested that the leader should also formulate a strategic plan for the next 5 years so that the reliability of the plan can be evaluated. This will help Tony Abbott to avoid the adversity of making false promises.



Thus, it can be stated that Tony Abbott was the 28th Prime Minister of Australia but he is not popular and remarkable leader due to the failed knowledge of leadership. There are other leaders, who said that Tony Abbott did not have any economic knowledge. This essay have also highlighted that he followed only autocratic leadership theory, where he just imposed all the taken decisions on the community without giving proper decisions. It is also considered that he intends to follow the democratic leadership style and desire to develop a transparent relationship with the followers. The action that he opted was to share some promises but the adversity arises when the promises has not been fulfilled. The challenges that Tony Abbott faced was unpopularity in NSW elections and controversy for deregulating university fees along with the anger of communal because the budget of cost-cutting agenda has been passed without considering the prior willingness to tolerate the new budget. The suggested solution in the first case is to share all the promises made and the action to fulfill those promises through digital media so that it can be spread to all the community people. The problem to the second problem is to formulate a detailed budget plan along with a 5-year future strategic goal so that a realistic image can be obtained. The third problem can be solved by conduction a primary research prior establishing any budget for the human welfare or mankind.


Reference List

BBC News., 2018. Profile: Tony Abbott. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Jan. 2018].

Beetham, D., 2013. Max Weber and the theory of modern politics. John Wiley & Sons.

Bhatti, N., Maitlo, G.M., Shaikh, N., Hashmi, M.A. and Shaikh, F.M., 2012. The impact of autocratic and democratic leadership style on job satisfaction. International Business Research, 5(2), p.192.

Esping-Andersen, G., 2017. Politics against markets: The social democratic road to power. Princeton University Press.

Grohar-Murray, M.E., DiCroce, H.R. and Langan, J.C., 2016. Leadership and management in nursing. Pearson.

Ng'ethe, J.M., Namusonge, G.S. and Iravo, M.A., 2012. Influence of leadership style on academic staff retention in public universities in Kenya. International journal of business and social science, 3(21).

Pennock, J.R., 2015. Democratic political theory. Princeton University Press.

Rasler, K. and Thompson, W., 2016. Puzzles of the democratic peace: theory, geopolitics and the transformation of world politics. Springer.

Shields, B., 2018. Carbon tax repeal my top achievement for women: Abbott. [online] The Sydney Morning Herald. Available at: [Accessed 19 Jan. 2018].

Stacey, R.D., 2012. Tools and techniques of leadership and management: Meeting the challenge of complexity. Routledge.

The Sydney Morning Herald., 2018. The challenges facing Tony Abbott over the next six months. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Jan. 2018].

Verba, S., 2015. Small groups and political behavior: A study of leadership. Princeton University Pres


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