News Release

An Evening with The Honourable Tony Abbott on Education, Career, Marriage and Family


More than 600 young adults and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered at their Baulkham Hills, Sydney, meetinghouse on 27th August for an evening with former Prime Minister, The Honourable Tony Abbott MP.

The evening featured a dialogue about the role of education, career, marriage and family in young people’s lives as they progress through adulthood. Latter-day Saint leaders who were in attendance included Area Seventies Elder Johnny Leota and Elder Robert Dudfield, accompanied by President Lionel Walters and Sister Marianne Walters of the Sydney Australia Temple. They were joined by many young adults from the greater Sydney area, as well as those gathered in Canberra and Newcastle through live streaming.

President Leo Gomez of the Liverpool Stake (diocese) introduced Mr. Abbott by recounting their seven year long and ongoing friendship that was formed through Pollie Pedal, an annual cycling fundraising event that Mr. Abbott founded in 1998. Mr. Abbott responded, “I know a lot about the character of the Mormons, because the Mormon church has supported my Pollie Pedal bike ride for the last decade. Mormons are good people committed to their faith.”

Facilitated by Elder Dudfield, Mr. Abbott responded openly to questions that had been submitted by the young adults. In respect to seeking learning, Mr. Abbott encouraged young people to read as “the more you read, the more familiar you become not just with your own world, but the world around you.”

On a more intimate topic, Mr. Abbott spoke about significant people in his life and reflected on his relationship with his ageing father. He recalled one of the lessons his father taught him was that “there is good in everyone”, which he has strived to practice in his work and private life everyday.

Mr. Abbott, a father of three daughters, was asked to compare parliament’s question time with raising teenage daughters. He jokingly replied, “Parliament is a more respectful place.”

Joking aside, Mr. Abbott described fondly the achievements of each of his now adult daughters and concluded, “They have all taken after their mother. ‘Margie’s full time career has always been dedicated to the family. I have only been able to dedicate my life to the country because my wife has dedicated herself to the kids.”

Erin Harper, an audience participant, commented, “I appreciated the open nature of Mr Abbott in responding to our questions and sharing his thoughts of how to be the best person we can be.”

Elder Dudfield encouraged those in attendance to reach out to those of all political parties, faiths and community groups, to build strong relationships and to learn from each other.  

In conclusion he pleaded, “In all of our conversations, whether it is face to face or via social media, as followers of Christ, we must always seek to treat others with respect and civility as we share our views on faith, marriage and family.”

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