Tony Abbott came to office lauded as the most effective leader of the opposition since Whitlam, but the signs of an imperfect transition to the prime ministership would soon emerge. Why did Abbott fail to grow into the job to which he had aspired for decades?
Backbenchers complained about the leader's office, the lack of access, front benchers leaked about cabinet processes to the media. His long apprenticeship in religion, journalism and political life prepared him for neither the mundane business of people management nor the commanding heights of national leadership.
Public goodwill evaporated after a tough first budget the government failed to explain. Inside the Liberal party individual ambitions and a succession of poor polls produced increasing concern that the next election was lost. As a result, the horse named self-interest won yet again.