Key mistake: Tony Abbott’s admission
Tony Abbott has taken another shot at his successor, Malcolm Turnbull, blaming Mr Turnbull's ambition for the demise of his government in 2015.
In an interview with The Australian's Troy Bramston to mark the 75th anniversary of the Liberal Party, Mr Abbott acknowledged he had made mistakes during his short-lived, two-year tenure as prime minister.
"I'm sure lots of people could find fault with my government and it would be impolitic of me to find fault with either the Turnbull Government or the Morrison Government, but look, you could always say that some things could have been done better," Mr Abbott said.
"But I think in our determination not to overtax and overregulate people, to respect tradition and to put Australia first, we have done our country proud."
He highlighted his widely mocked decision to reintroduce knights and dames to the Order of Australia honours list as one particularly damaging misstep.
"There is absolutely no doubt that there were a couple of things that I did, particularly the restoration of knighthoods, which caused me a lot of grief," he said.
However, Mr Abbott said he still thought it was the right move, in principle.
"If we are going to have an honours system, I think that at the apex of the system we should have knights and dames," he said.
And he made it clear there was one person he blamed far more than himself.
"We got a lot done in two years but look, my problem was that I had one colleague who was never happy to be someone else's minister," Mr Abbott said.
"It wasn't that we had a divided government. It was more that there was one person who was determined to get to the top by hook or by crook. Malcolm always thought it was his destiny to be prime minister, and I happened to be the obstacle to that, and so he dealt with me as best he could."
Mr Abbott said he had "mostly" forgiven the former colleagues who had voted him out of the leadership in September of 2015. Mr Turnbull won that vote 54-44.
"It is what it is, and there is no point going through life with lasting enmities," he said.
He denied the charge that he was a "wrecker" when Mr Turnbull was prime minister.
"I have never given to a journalist information about someone else which is designed to damage another person. From time to time I might have offered a critical judgment on individual policies, maybe on occasion even individuals, but I've always acted in accordance with what I think the rules of politics should be," he said.
"I put Malcolm Turnbull on my frontbench in opposition. I kept him in my cabinet in government. I note that Malcolm never returned the compliment when he had a chance to do so."
Mr Abbott also took a light swing at his former deputy leader, Julie Bishop, who went on to serve as Mr Turnbull's deputy as well.
He said he thought his relationship was "fine" - until it suddenly wasn't.
"I thought it was fine while it existed, but plainly that's not how she thought of it," Mr Abbott said.
Mr Abbott lost his federal seat of Warringah to independent candidate Zali Steggall at the election in May. He had held the seat for more than 20 years.
Perhaps surprisingly, he told Bramston he would consider a return to parliament, if the party asked him.
"If the Liberal Party ever wanted me to do that I would be more than happy to consider it, but I find it difficult to imagine the circumstances that they would want me," he said.
"I'm not ruling it out, but I'm certainly not expecting it to happen."