Mr Abbott has volunteered with the Davidson Rural Fire Brigade, which is fighting bushfires near Nowra, in southern New South Wales, delaying his annual holiday to do so.

The Opposition Leader has been a volunteer with his local brigade since 2000, once serving as its deputy captain and has direct experience fighting fires, reports The Australian.

Yesterday he tweeted his plans to help out, posting: “I’m now on my way to Sydney to be on standby with my local fire brigade.”

Mr O’Connor retweeted Mr Abbott’s message but added the tag “standbystunt”. However, he later deleted the message from his Twitter account and apologised.

He said:“Apologies for any offence. I respect and acknowledge the critical work of all our volunteer firefighters including Tony Abbott,” Mr O’Connor wrote.

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