Tony Abbott’s lesbian sister – whose wedding he tried to prevent – jumps to the defence of the ‘homophobic’ raw onion-eater

The lesbian sister of Tony Abbott, Christine Forster, has defended the former premier amid claims he is 'homophobia'. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Tony Abbott’s younger sister defended the former Australian leader Friday (September 4) after a backlash over plans to appoint him to a top UK government trade job.

The former Australian premier, best known for, among other things, eating a raw onion on television, has seen his track record on LGBT+ rights dusted off as he prepares to join the British Board of Trade.

Abbott was officially confirmed as an unpaid trade envoy Friday (September 4), ending days of speculation which had prompted stinging rebukes from politicians across the divide, as well as from LGBT+ rights activists, journalists, and anybody with a scrap of human decency.

Abbott’s sister Christine Forster, who campaigned against him during Australia’s same-sex marriage vote, leapt to his defence in a statement posted to Twitter.

She called claims levelled by critics that Abbott is “misogynistic” and “homophobic” as “nothing short of dishonesty”.

Forster, a City of Sydney councillor, said such accusations amount to nothing more than attempts to score “cheap political points”.

“As a woman who has always been part of his life and who came out to gay in my early 40s, I know incontrovertibly that Tony is neither of those things,” she said.

“In reality, he is a man of great conviction and intellect: an unabashed conservative birth with great compassion, respect for others, and an indelible sense of doing that is right.”

Abbott, a socially conservative Catholic, famously campaigned against the rights of his own sister and the wider LGBT+ community in his ardent opposition towards marriage equality. He lost, and Forster married her wife in 2018, with Abbott sitting in the front row.

In a 2010 television interview, Abbott said he felt “a bit threatened, as so many people do” by homosexuality, and later said that being gay “challenges […] the right order of things”.

Despite this, Forster said that Abbott’s character can be seen in his “commitment to the Rural Fire Service during last summer’s devastating east coast bushfires”.

“Tony would be an outstanding trade envoy for the UK, based on his track record as Prime Minister of delivering our three long-awaited and important trade deals with Japan, China and South Korea.”

Plans to appoint former Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott to a top trade advisory role has roiled LGBT+ activists. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Plans to appoint former Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott to a top trade advisory role has roiled LGBT+ activists. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Tony Abbott defended by Tory MPs.

Abbott, 62, served as prime minister of Australia from 2013 to 2015 before being ousted in a party coup which saw moderate Liberal Party lawmaker and marriage equality supporter Malcolm Turbull be sworn in.

He found his prime ministership destabilised after years of U-turns, gaffes, mean-spirited politics and poor public polling.

Apparently, this makes the Brexit supporter well-suited for the role, according to Conservative MPs.

Cabinet minsters Liz Truss and Matt Hancock have both sought to reel in criticism over Abbott’s past offensive comments about women and LGBT+ people, as well his history of denying climate catastrophe, to disastrous effect in recent days.

Indeed, a score of leading LGBT+ activists, including Ian McKellen and Russell T Davies, as well as environmental campaigners have come together to jointly urge the government to row back its plans. Their calls fell on deaf ears.