Abbott announced the latest update on the ongoing search before leaving Papua New Guinea Sunday morning.
"Yesterday, one of our civilian search aircraft got visuals of a number of objects in a fairly small area in the overall Australian search zone," Xinhua quoted Abbott as telling reporters.
He said that a wooden pallet was among the spotted items.
In the meantime, he warned that it was too early to draw too firm a conclusion. "Obviously before we can be too specific about what it might be, we need to recover this material. It's still too early to be definite," he said.
The prime minister also mentioned that Sunday, four more aircraft, two from China and two from Japan, will join the search.
Regarding the new satellite imagery released Saturday by China, he said that it suggests at least one large object.
He said that there is increasing hope that the authorities might solve the mystery of the missing aircraft.