Australia’s staunchly anti-LGBT+ former prime minister Tony Abbott hired by UK as post-Brexit trade chief

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

The UK government has reportedly hired Australia’s anti-LGBT+ former prime minister Tony Abbott to become its trade representative.

Abbott is believed to be set to serve as president of the UK Board of Trade, with The Sun newspaper hailing the appointment of the “forthright Aussie… tasked with drumming up deals for Britain around the world”.

The former PM is reviled by LGBT+ campaigners in Australia for fighting tooth-and-nail to stop equal marriage – despite his own sister being gay.

Tony Abbott led the anti-gay marriage movement in Australia.

The former prime minister blocked free votes in parliament on same-sex marriage during his time in office, instead calling for a future public ballot before any action was taken.

Abbott became the de facto leader of the anti-gay marriage campaign when his successor Malcolm Turnbull finally did put the issue up for a public vote in 2017.

During the postal vote campaign, Abbott encouraged people to oppose same-sex marriage to “protect women and children,” explaining his belief that “children should have both a mother and a father.”

Abbott also hit out at “moral bullying” from the “gay lobby,” claiming that “broadening marriage weakens it”.

A mural by artist Scott Marsh depicting former Prime Minister Tony Abbott marrying himself

A mural by artist Scott Marsh depicting former prime minister Tony Abbott marrying himself (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

He told Australians: “If you don’t like same-sex marriage, vote no. If you are worried about freedom of speech and freedom of religion, vote no.

“If you don’t like political correctness, vote no, because this is the best way to stop it in its tracks.”

One bizarre moment of the campaign saw the ex-leader demand censorship of a Macklemore performance because he believed gay anthem “Same Love” showed bias.

Another campaign low point saw Abbott suggest it would be “best” for his gay sister’s children to be raised by a straight couple, worsening a family feud that also led his own children to speak out in support of their aunt.

Former Australian PM also opposed LGBT+ inclusive education.

Despite a crushing defeat that saw 61.6 per cent of Australians back equal marriage, Abbott did not turn up for a parliamentary vote on the eventual same-sex marriage bill. The politician instead attempted to foster ties with an anti-LGBT+ hate group in the United States, telling anti-LGBT+ lobbyists that their movement “should continue” beyond the marriage vote.

Aside from equal marriage, Abbott also cheered on the destruction of the LGBT-inclusive Safe Schools anti-bullying programme, insisting that the “terrible” effort was “social engineering programme dressed up as anti-bullying.”

Though he has never apologised for his actions, Abbott appears to have partly seen the error of his ways, attending his sister’s wedding and even attempting to take credit for equal marriage.

He claimed last year: “When all is said and done, I helped to make the [equal marriage vote] happen. I set up the process which opened up the possibility and even the likelihood of change.

“Now that it has happened, I absolutely accept the outcome. It’s the law of the land and that’s the way it is.”