Tony Abbott ‘headbutted’ by same-sex marriage Yes advocate in Hobart

Tony Abbott ‘headbutted’ by same-sex marriage Yes advocate in Hobart, by Primrose Riordan.

Mr Abbott said he left the ­office of The Mercury newspaper and was making his way towards his hotel when he was approached by a man who wanted to shake his hand.

“A fellow sung out at me, ‘Hey Tony’. I turned around. There was a chap wearing a vote Yes badge,” Mr Abbott told Sydney’s 2GB.

“He says, ‘I want to shake your hand’.

“I went over to shake his hand then he headbutted me. He wasn’t very good at it, I’ve got to say, but he did make contact.

“The only damage was a very, very slightly swollen lip.” …

Former prime minister Mr Abbott has said he was “shocked” after he was allegedly headbutted by a man who he said was wearing a badge in favour of the Yes campaign in Hobart.

“It is a shock to have a fellow Australian seeking to shake your hand and turn a handshake into an assault,” Mr Abbott told reporters outside his hotel this morning.

“Normally a handshake is a sign of trust and peace.”

Mr Abbott said he has not sought police protection since the incident and asked Australians to keep the debate respectful. …

Mr Abbott said there could be no doubt that the alleged headbutt was motivated by his opposition to same-sex marriage, joking that it was an example of “politically-motivated violence”. …

“It was just a reminder of how ugly this debate is getting,” he said. “The ugliness is not coming from the defenders of marriage as it’s always been understood. …

Tasmanian police have issued a detailed description of the man wanted for allegedly headbutting Tony Abbott in Hobart yesterday and called for witnesses or friends and colleagues of the man to come forward.