In January, Tony Abbott opened his heart to explain how difficult life was now the Howard government had lost power and how he had to make do on only $127,000 or so per year, plus the world's most generous superannuation benefits, a free car and petrol and office expenses in the five figures.
"What's it called? Mortgage stress? The advent of the Rudd Government has caused serious mortgage stress for a section of the Australian community, ie former Howard government ministers."
"You don't just lose power...you certainly lose income as well, and if you are reliant on your parliamentary salary for your daily living, obviously it makes a big difference."
Millions of Australian families living it large on less than $50,000 a year expressed profound sadness at Tony Abbott's dire financial predicament. Imagine trying to survive on triple what the average Australian family earns, they emphasised, what with all the stress of trying to calculate how many millions his parliamentary super and pension will add up to, plus having to tolerate the imposition and hassle of a free car and free petrol.
Tony Abbott also complained that business executives earned much, much more than politicians do, and, you know, don't you think that's kind of wrong, too?
Despite being so poor he now has to handpaint colourful ties onto his shirts, Abbott has managed to resist all the offers of multi-million dollar executive appointments from the private sector that have tied up his secretaries since the election loss to continue his vow of poverty and remain in Parliament serving the people.
But for how much longer?
Abbott has apparently been working on a new career as a comedian, and his complaints earlier this year about the dry, stale crumbs that fill his parliamentary paypacket were not complaints at all. He was, it appears, just test-running some hilarious new material :
Mr Abbott tried to laugh off his complaints about the $90,000 pay cut he took when the Howard government was tossed out of office last year.
....he said he had been joking.
"I was asked a question, and I gave a jovial answer to the effect that one of the groups suffering mortgage stress thanks to the Rudd government were former Howard government ministers," Mr Abbott said, laughing.
"It was a light-hearted answer."
"And one of the reasons why politics is a genuine vocation, not always recognised by the public in those terms, but why it is in fact a genuine vocation - a noble calling - is because no one would do it for the money."
Here's some more examples of Tony Abbott's hysterical stand-up comedy routines from the 2007 federal election. If only we'd known he was cracking jokes and japing us, we all could have laughed so much harder :
Tony Abbott Threatens Voters With "Dire Consequences" If They Don't Vote For The Coalition
Tony Abbott Questions Whether A Dying Man "Is Pure Of Heart" Shortly Before His Death, Only Decides To Apologise After Seeing Headlines In Morning Papers
Tony Abbott Mystified, Horrified By Public Desire For Honest, Credible, Hard-Working Politicians To Serve The Public
Tony Abbott Says Women Who Don't Have Children Lack "Broader Lifetime Experience" And Won't Get Enough Votes To Win And Be Appointed, Say, Deputy Prime Minister
Tony Abbott Promises Liberals Will Be "Fair Dinkum" With Australian Voters
Tony Abbott Talks Up His "Reasonably Good People Skills"