Abbott says not all cultures are equal, calling for Islamic 'religious revolution' and the destruction of ISIS

Nicholas McCallum

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott believes that while he could have been done better, he left a "good foundation" for his successor over his two years at the top and would have won the next election.

The new Liberal backbencher spoke candidly with Sky News about several issues including his future, the future of Islam in Western society and how to deal with ISIS.

But his toughest words were reserved for his colleagues who plotted against him and the media that gave the shadowy figures a mouthpiece.

"If I defend the legacy of my government, I'm helping the foundations of the Turnbull government," Mr Abbott said, insisting the record of his work needed to be corrected before the final history is written.

"Whoever led the Coalition, I believe we were going to win the next election and win it quite strongly, because obviously on all the evidence so far, the Labor Party can't learn and it hasn't changed."

In a sit-down interview with Paul Murray, Mr Abbott trumpeted his successes in "stopped the boats" and "repealed two bad taxes" while taking a swipe at the media for treating voters like mugs when it comes to reporting the issues.

Tony Abbott now graces the backbenches of parliament. Photo: AAP

"I do think much of what passes for political reporting these days is glorified gossip. I think that’s a pity, I think it dumbs down debate," he said.

With Australia and allies bombing Islamic State-held territories in the Middle East, Mr Abbott said the "superior" West has to fight a battle for the hearts and minds of Islam and push believers toward their own "religious revolution".

"We’ve got to work closely with live-and-let-live Muslims, because there needs to be, as president of Egypt has said, a religious revolution inside Islam.

"All of those things that Islam has never had, a Reformation, an Enlightenment, a well-developed concept of the separation of the Church and State.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton. Photo: AAP/Glenn Hunt

"That needs to happen, we can’t do it," the pious Mr Abbott said. "Muslims have to do it for themselves but we should with those who are pushing in that direction."

He added that West should not apologise for its values, that not all cultures were equal and one that "believes in decency and tolerance is much to be preferred to one that think you can kill in the name of god".

Resurrecting the rhetoric that almost sounds charged with machismo when compared to Malcolm Turnbull's more professorial nature, Mr Abbott insisted world leaders needed to come together to wipe out the Islamic State.

"In the end Islamic State can’t be contained, it has to be destroyed," he said.

The member for Warringah said he expects to make a decision on his future by April, but he has received "literally thousands and thousands of messages of support and encouragement" since he was ousted in mid-September

"If I stay on, public life a vocation if I may say so, being a MP including a backbench member of parliament, it's a noble and honourable calling," he said.

Mr Abbott was grateful he had more time to engage with his local community, already having done three surf patrols and three burn-offs with his fire brigade.