Former prime minister Tony Abbott has stumbled on a “wonderful thing” while door-knocking in the Sydney surfing suburb of Dee Why, and he wants everyone to know about it.
As he made his way from one house to the next, speaking to voters along sleepy Tango Avenue this week, Mr Abbott was delighted to discover something he had never seen before – a street library.
He has been the member for the safe Liberal seat of Warringah since 1994 but is expected to face a tough fight in the looming federal election against independent candidate and former Olympian Zali Steggall.
It’s amazing the things you see and learn when you’re door knocking. The Tango Avenue street library is a testament to the strong community we have throughout Warringah. 📚 pic.twitter.com/njDpFinFWl
— Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR) March 21, 2019
“It’s amazing the things you see and learn while door-knocking,” Mr Abbott said in a video shared to his 673,000 Twitter followers.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before, the Tango Avenue street library. And I want to say what a wonderful thing for the residents to be doing.”
Thrilled by the concept of a free communal book exchange for passersby, the former PM went a step further and explained how to use it – just in case others had somehow missed the memo about street libraries, too.
Unbeknownst to Mr Abbott, free public bookshelves, known as street libraries, have been popping up more and more across Australia, offering locals and travellers the chance to borrow from an ever-changing rotation of novels, textbooks or travel guides.
Naturally, in response to Mr Abbott, the internet did its thing:
Tony Abbott in 2015: pic.twitter.com/aTNHJyRRQd
— sam langford (@_slangers) March 21, 2019
If only there was a politician who could explain this to me. pic.twitter.com/ljzesn3bQA
— Craig Reucassel (@craigreucassel) March 21, 2019
— Australian Unions (@unionsaustralia) March 21, 2019
— The AMWU (@theamwu) March 21, 2019
Memes aside, it has been heartwarming for many to see Mr Abbott so pleased by a community initiative aimed at boosting public access to education.