Former prime minister Tony Abbott says he was headbutted in the face by a campaigner for marriage equality after leaving a meeting in Hobart.

According to the Australian, the alleged assault happened in Salamanca Place at around 4:30 this afternoon.

Abbott told 2GB tonight that a bloke approached him asking him for a handshake, before clocking him one in the face.

A fellow sung out at me – ‘Hey Tony.’ I turned around. There was a chap wearing a Vote Yes badge. He says, ‘I want to shake your hand.’ I went over to shake his hand, then he headbutted me.

He wasn’t very good at it I’ve got to say. But he did make contact. The only damage was a very, very slightly swollen lip.

In the end the assailant ran off, “swearing his head off“, after briefly tussling with one of Abbott’s staff members.

The former PM went on to say:

It was just a reminder of how ugly this debate is getting. And 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 … we’ve got to allow same sex marriage.

People on both sides of the marriage equality debate are less than impressed with the act of violence.

Abbott has reportedly notified federal police about the incident.

Source: The Australian
Image: Getty Images / Stefan Postles