A Hobart DJ accused of headbutting Tony Abbott says his drunken attack was inspired by a personal hatred for the former prime minister and had nothing to do with same-sex marriage.
Astro Labe, 38, has been charged with assaulting Mr Abbott as he walked along the Hobart waterside to his hotel on Thursday afternoon.
Labe, a self-confessed anarchist, was wearing a ‘yes’ sticker when he spotted Mr Abbott on the street and went over to shake his hand before leaning in for a headbutt.
“I picked up pace and went ‘Tony, Tony, can I shake your hand?’,” he said.
“And I shook his hand and I was a little bit too drunk to actually connect particularly well.
“Apparently he got a fat lip but he didn’t have one this morning.”
He said he simply wanted to hit Mr Abbott.
“All it was is I saw Tony Abbott and I’d had half a skinful and I wanted to nut the c*** … That’s just my personal hatred,” he told News Corp Australia.
Mr Abbott, who was left shocked but unscathed after the encounter, claimed it was “ugliness” as part of the same-sex marriage debate.
“Normally a handshake is a sign of trust and peace,” Mr Abbott said outside his hotel on Friday.
“This is one of the many reasons I say we should think long and hard before going down this path.”
Labe said although he was wearing a ‘yes’ sticker at the time, the headbutt was inspired by a general dislike for Mr Abbott.
“Coincidentally, some friend had put a sticker on me. It had absolutely nothing to do with that,” he said, adding he was worried his actions would be used to smear the ‘yes’ campaign.
“They (‘no’ campaigners) don’t need ammunition – there are enough conservative arseholes in this country.”
Gay rights activists and politicians from both major parties condemned the violence.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull rang Mr Abbott on Thursday night and later described the attack as disgraceful.
Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne said the violence was un-Australian, while Opposition Leader Bill Shorten tweeted it was unacceptable.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome said the man was not connected with the state’s pro-gay marriage campaign.
“There’s no link between his attacker and the marriage equality campaign over and above a lapel badge,” he told AAP.
“I’m confident that the majority of Australians will distinguish between the actions of the yes campaign and one lone attacker.”
Mr Abbott was in Tasmania campaigning for the ‘no’ vote in the national survey alongside Liberal colleague Eric Abetz.
Police are looking at CCTV footage from the area and have spoken to a number of witnesses.
Labe is expected to face court on one count of common assault on October 23.