Headbutt attack on Aussie ex-PM nothing to do with gay unions

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Posted By : NewslineToday Bureau
Date  22/09/2017
A self-described anarchist who headbutted former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has denied he attacked the politician because of his opposition to same-sex marriage.

"It had absolutely nothing to do with marriage equality," said Astro Labe, a 38-year-old DJ from Hobart, Tasmania, where the attack occurred on Thursday.

"I was thinking `there`s Tony Abbott, I`m going to headbutt him`," said Labe, a self-described anarchist who expressed disdain for Abbott`s conservative views.

Abbott was in the southern Australian island state to campaign against same-sex marriage during a postal ballot in which Australians have been called on to vote "yes" or "no" to legalising gay unions.

He claimed after the attack that it was part of a bullying campaign by the "yes" camp, adding the assailant "was, of course, wearing a `yes` badge".

But Labe told Australian television late Friday that it "was just coincidental that someone had stuck a sticker on my jacket".

He has been charged with assault over the attack.

Up to 15 million Australians are taking part in the postal ballot, which began earlier this month. The result of the vote will be known in mid-November.

Abbott, 59, was prime minister from 2013 to 2015, when he was deposed by current leader Malcolm Turnbull – a moderate who supports marriage equality.

Concern the vote could unleash abuse and homophobic slurs saw parliament pass election-style safeguards restricting campaign material that might be misleading and deceptive during the ballot period.

The postal survey is non-binding but Turnbull has vowed to hold a vote in parliament if the "yes" camp wins a majority in the ballot

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