Tony Abbott’s sister, who is gay and wed her long-term partner with her brother by her side, has come to the former prime minister’s defence after he was labelled a ‘sexist homophobe’.
He has received widespread criticism from British politicians and commentators following his newly appointed role as a trade envoy for the United Kingdom.
The former Australian prime minister was even branded a ‘misogynist, a sexist and a climate change denier’ by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on British morning television.
He has also been criticised for suggesting older people should be left to die from coronavirus, to spare younger generations from the economic burden.
But his young sister, Christine Forster, has since released a very personal statement online defending her ‘compassionate and respectful’ brother.
‘It is nothing short of dishonesty for commentators and politicians who do not know Tony to label him a ‘homophobe’ and a ‘misogynist’ for the purpose of scoring cheap political points,’ she said.
Tony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster (pictured, centre) wed long-time partner Virginia Flitcroft (left) in 2018, and has now come out in defence of her brother
Ms Forster, has since released a very personal statement (pictured) online defending her ‘compassionate and respectful’ brother
‘As a woman who has always been part of his life and who came out to him as gay in my early 40s, I know incontrovertibly that Tony is neither of those things’.
She married her long-time partner, Virginia Flitcroft, in 2018.
Bronwyn Bishop, Australia’s longest serving female politician, also leapt to Mr Abbott’s defence, stating he was a victim of ‘disgraceful character assassination’.
‘To say that he is a misogynist is just outright wrong,’ she said on Sky News Australia.
‘He has a good record as a father of three girls and he had chiefs of staff who have been female.
‘I have known Tony for over three decades and I have never ever seen him have any of those traits of misogyny.
‘So it is a disgraceful character assassination trying to destroy someone by people who are clearly political opponents.’
The former Australian prime minister was branded a ‘misogynist, a sexist and a climate change denier’ by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on British morning television (pictured: Tony Abbott arrives at a book launch in Sydney, Monday, November 25, 2019)
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called Mr Abbott’s comments ‘disgraceful’ after labelling him a ‘misogynist, sexist and climate change denier’
Her defence comes after Ms Sturgeon said if she had anything to do with the hiring process, then she would not have Mr Abbott as the UK’s trade envoy.
‘The idea that anyone could take that view is deeply offensive and wrong,’ she told Sky News UK anchor Kay Burley.
‘But Tony Abbott, even before these comments, is a misogynist, he’s a sexist, he’s a climate change denier.
‘In my view he’s not the kind of person who should be a trade envoy or any kind of envoy for the United Kingdom’.
British opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer agreed with Ms Sturgeon’s comments, saying British prime minister Boris Johnson made the wrong decision.
‘I have real concerns about Tony Abbott and I don’t think he’s the right person for the job. If I was prime minister I wouldn’t appoint him.’
Rita Panahi an Iranian Australian opinion columnist, also came to Mr Abbott’s defence and called out the ‘defamatory’ comments
‘Absolutely despicable, defamatory BS from a repeat offender,’ she tweeted, referring to UK news presenter Ms Burley.
Bronwyn Bishop (pictured), Australia’s longest serving female politician, has leapt to Mr Abbott’s defence, stating he was a victim of ‘disgraceful character assassination’
‘To say that he is a misogynist is just outright wrong,’ Ms Bishop said about Tony Abbott (pictured) on Sky News Australia
‘Tony Abbott should consult a lawyer. These unfounded slurs, pushed by his loony left political opponents, are stated as fact by ”journalists” in the UK.’
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock attempted to defend Mr Abbott’s ‘disgraceful’ comments insisting ‘he’s also an expert in trade’.
‘We need experts in different areas and somebody who is the former prime minister of Australia is obviously an enormous expert in the field of trade,’ he said.
Mr Abbott was officially appointed on Friday, UK time.
Senior coalition minister Mathias Cormann, who served under Mr Abbott, said he had a distinguished record.
‘From where I sit, Tony Abbott is clearly a giant on Australian politics who has made a great contribution over a long time,’ Senator Cormann told Sky News on Friday.
‘Not everyone will agree with him, but people are entitled to their views, and that’s the way things work in a democracy.’
Abbott has previously said he feels ‘a bit threatened’ by homosexuality and opposed same-sex marriage.
He was also accused of misogyny in front of Australian parliament by then prime minister Julia Gillard.
Ms Gillard references his comments about the price of electricity when opposition leader in 2010.
‘What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up,’ he said.