On Thursday, Sept. 22, a man wearing a “Vote Yes” badge indicating his support for marriage equality in the ongoing Australian mail-in plebiscite, allegedly delivered a “marriage equality head-butt” to former Prime Minister Tony Abbott for his long history of opposing same-sex marriage.
The attack happened in Hobart, Tasmania. The accused head-butter, a local DJ named DJ Astro “Funknukl” Labe, has since been arrested but says the incident had nothing to do with marriage equality.
PM Abbott claims it was a marriage equality head-butt
Here’s how the attack went down, according to Abbott’s interview on Melbourne’s 3AW radio show:
I was walking from the Mercury office across that docks area, that beautiful docks area in Hobart, towards my hotel. A fellow sung out at me “Hey Tony!” I turned around, there was a chap wearing a “Vote Yes” badge. He says, “I wanna shake your hand.”
I went over to shake his hand and then he head-butted me. Now, he wasn’t very good at it, I’ve gotta say, but he did make contact. The only damage was a very, very slightly swollen lip. I was with a member of my staff [who] briefly grappled with this guy, and he then ran off swearing his head off basically. It was just a reminder of how ugly this debate is getting.
The BBC says the attacker also claimed, “You deserve it because of what you’ve said.”
DJ Astro Labe claims it wasn’t a marriage equality headbutt
According to the ABC, the 38-year-old DJ claimed to be an anarchist who head-butted Mr Abbott “because I didn’t think it was an opportunity I’d get again.” He added that he happened to be wearing a “Vote Yes” sticker “purely because a friend of mine had walked past handing them out and had stuck one on my jacket.”
Nevertheless, Abbott described the attack as “politically motivated violence.”
Australia is in the middle of a non-binding postal plebiscite to determine the electorate’s will on marriage equality. The mail-in ballots are due by Nov. 7 and the government is expected to announce a result by Nov. 25, 2017.