Former prime minister Tony Abbott, also an avid supporter of the “No” vote on same-sex marriage, was headbutted in Hobart last night.
Since the incident, social media has blow up with both sides of the debate condemning the violence.
For “No” voters, such as Abbott, it has provided them with proof of a common argument supporting their campaign that this vote is not about marriage, rather freedom of speech and political correctness.
“The ugliness is not coming from the defenders of marriage as it’s always been understood — the ugliness, the intolerance and indeed in this instance, the hint of violence, is coming from those who tell us in the name of decency and fairmindedness and freedom, we’ve got to allow same-sex marriage,” Abbott told the ABC, following the attack.
“If the actual debate about same-sex marriage is producing this kind of intolerance and bullying, how much worse would it get if the brave new world of same-sex marriage actually came to be?”
While not for the same reasons, those from the “Yes” campaign are equally disappointed, condemning the violence and arguing the action’s of one person is not reflective of the cohort.
“There is absolutely no place for violence in the marriage equality debate,” Alex Greenwich, independent MP for Sydney and co-chair Australian Marriage Equality tweeted.
“This is about treating people fairly and with respect and dignity.”
Tasmanians United for Marriage Equality spokesperson, Rodney Croome said the attack on Abbott was “beneath contempt”.
“I urge both Yes and No supporters to act with respect and restraint because, when this postal survey is over, we will still have to live together, side by side, as Australians,” he said.
“This attack on Tony Abbott, like any violence on the basis of political belief, is beneath contempt and has no place in Australian public debate.”
Here’s what people are saying on social media.
Some of the pollies have had their say
Great to have @TonyAbbottMHR in Tas over last few days. Disappointed a yes campaigner would try to assault fmr PM. Must be condemned by all.
— Eric Abetz (@SenatorAbetz) September 21, 2017
This is terrible – violence like this is never acceptable. I'm glad Mr Abbott isn't seriously injured and I've rung him to say so. https://t.co/FkSOUhObgZ
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) September 21, 2017
And social commentators
Tony Abbott was head-butted last night by a same sex marriage advocate.
As he said, it’s a reminder of how ugly the debate is getting.
— Alan Jones (@AlanJones) September 21, 2017
Sure head butting Tony Abbott was dumb, uncalled for and counter productive. He and his intolerant mates are milking it for all their worth.
— Paul Bongiorno (@PaulBongiorno) September 21, 2017
The attack on @TonyAbbottMHR by a SSM advocate will prove to be the turning point of the yes/no vote and final nail in the yes coffin.
— Prue MacSween (@macsween_prue) September 21, 2017
And the public
Whoever punched Tony Abbott probably just garnished the No vote thousands of votes #theboltreport
— Tim Cahill FC (@RohanCT) September 21, 2017
To the fucking idiot who allegedly assaulted Tony Abbott: thanks for playing into No’s hands, you absolute moron.
— Chris Kennett (@chriskennett) September 21, 2017
Hey Tony Abbott, headbutts & ugly division happen when pollies like you don't let Parliament do its job on issues like #marriageequaility
— Aussie Camel (@aussiecamel9745) September 21, 2017
— jason rostant (@jrostant) September 21, 2017
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