Man charged over alleged headbutt on former PM Tony Abbott


Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has claimed he was headbutted by a supporter of same sex marriage, which he strongly opposes.

He's believed to have departed Hobart for Melbourne early on Friday.

Mr Abbott has alleged the man headbutted him after asking to shake his hand.

An ABC spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia: 'The email was unacceptable and the staff member in question who is a technical operator and not a journalist, has been counselled'.

Mr Abbott said today's incident was "a reminder of how ugly this debate is getting".

"It was nothing really remotely to do with that".

It is unclear why Mr Abbott told the media he was assaulted because of equal marriage, as Labe insists he said nothing to Abbott on the subject during the incident, though was reportedly wearing a small "Yes" badge.

"I want to divorce myself [from the same-sex marriage issue] - not because I disagree with their stance - but this was nothing to do with that". He had been drinking before the alleged attack.

'My motivations were alcohol fuelled to a degree.

"Someone had just stuck a campaign sticker on me. This is about treating people fairly and with respect & dignity", said Alex Greenwich MP, co chair of the "Yes" campaign. He said Abbott was a "completely disgusting person" who did not share that respect.

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"A fellow sung out to me, "Hey, Tony".

Labe said he supports marriage equality but his actions had nothing to with the YES campaign.

"We don't know this man and certainly don't condone his stupid act", Banks said.

"The man was granted bail and is expected to appear in court on October 23, " police said.

Mr Abbott said the assault was more evidence of politically-correct activists trying to shut down dissenting opinions.

A spokesman for Abbott said the staffer present had "sought to restrain the perpetrator after he assaulted Mr Abbott".

Labe said the headbutt "wasn't good enough for [his] liking", adding that his "very blurry" memory was due to intoxication, not concussion or any injuries sustained from the attack.

In the past two weeks there have been reports that a Burnie cafe was threatened with arson, a 14-year-old Dubbo girl received a death threat and Kevin Rudd's godson was bashed, all for supporting marriage equality.

Around 16million people have been sent voting forms in Australia's plebiscite on whether marriage laws should be amended to accommodate same-sex marriage.

The former PM had been meeting with "No" campaigners including Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz on Thursday, a day after he launched an anti-bullying website with Senator Abetz in Launceston.