Australia’s ex-PM Tony Abbott headbutted ‘in equal marriage row’
Australia’s former Prime Minister Tony Abbott alleges he was headbutted in a row with a supporter of equal marriage.
Mr Abbott, the country’s right-wing former Prime Minister, has been a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage as voters have their say on the issue in a binding postal vote.
He was a victim of an attack during a confrontation after attending a meeting with anti-gay marriage campaigners in the city of Hobart.
According to Sky News Australia, Mr Abbott’s sustained only “minor injuries” in the attack, which the politician alleges was perpetrated by a supporter of equal marriage.
He told Melbourne’s 3AW: “A fellow sung out at me, ‘hey Tony,’ I turned around, there was a chap wearing a Vote Yes badge,’ Mr Abbott told Melbourne radio station 3AW.
“‘I went over to shake his hand then he head-butted me.”
A spokesperson for Abbott said: “He didn’t have a blood nose or break his nose or anything like that.”
The former PM told Sky News that the incident came after attending a “private event” in Hobart.
His Facebook reveals he had been meeting with anti-LGBT lobbyists in the city.
Mr Abbott had written: “Lunch this afternoon with ‘No’ campaigners in Hobart.
“Parents are concerned about the potential ramifications of the SSM vote, if you’re concerned about it too, vote ‘No’.”
Alex Greenwich of The Equality Campaign said in a statement: “We condemn the violence against Tony Abbott that has been reported tonight.
“There is never a place for violence or abuse.
“Marriage Equality is about respect and dignty for every Australian. There is no room for any disrespect either physical or verbal in this national debate.
“Our campaign has always and will continue to call for respect and everyone involved in this debate to act in a respectful and dignified way.”
Earlier in the week a Cafe was threatened with arson for supporting the Yes campaign while a 14 year old girl received a death threat for supporting marriage equality on social media.
Equal marriage campaigner Rodney Croombe said: “This attack on Tony Abbott, like any violence on the basis of political belief, is beneath contempt and has no place in Australian public debate, especially when that debate is about love, commitment, tolerance and respect.
“But I also urge Australians not to make a judgement about marriage equality on the basis of the delinquency of one person whose only link to the Yes campaign was wearing a badge.
“I urge both Yes and No supporters to act with respect and restraint because, when this postal survey is over, we will still have to live side by side as Australians.”
During the campaign Mr Abbott has become a prominent voice against equality.
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Mr Abbott has aggressively fought an aggressive campaign against same-sex marriage despite the fact that his own sister Christine Forster is gay, and waiting for the right to marry her same-sex partner.
Abbott stunned the country last month when he appeared to suggest it would be “best” for Ms Forster’s children to be raised by a straight couple.
The family feud heightened this week, when it emerged that Mr Abbott’s daughter Frances is backing up her gay aunt over her own father.
Mr Abbott recently stirred controversy when he visited US-based extremist lobbying group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) – despite the group allegedly pressuring countries around the world to keep sodomy laws banning gay sex.
The ex-PM pushed ahead with his plans to speak to the group, which has also opposed LGBT people in the military, same-sex adoption and equal marriage.