Tony Abbott on his gay sister: 'Her courage has deepened my life.'

Tony Abbott with his sister, Christine Forster

Ask any gay, lesbian or bisexual person and they will tell you that no matter how accepting or supportive your friends and family are, coming out is difficult. Moreso if you’ve previously lived a heterosexual life.

But what if your brother is one of the most well known anti-gay marriage campaigners in the country? And he’s the Leader of the Opposition.

Christine Forster is the beloved sister of Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott. Earlier this year, her decision to leave her husband for a woman received extensive coverage in the media (you can read about that here).

Christine is currently running for Sydney City Council and her famous brother has written to voters, urging them to support her.

His letter might surprise you:


Dear Residents,

My sister Chris is one of the bravest people I know. It takes real guts for a basically conservative person to admit she’s gay and to build a new life based on who she really is.

She’s managed to negotiate the inevitable hurt in a way that’s kept the love of her vast network of family and friends.

She’s running for Sydney City Council on her policies not on her sexuality but the way she’s handled this shows the character she’d bring to public life.

Chris and her partner Virginia live in Surry Hills and love our great city. They admired Clover Moore but think that, after 24 years in office, she’s run out of good ideas for a city that’s been standing still since the Olympics. Sydney has to be a good place to work and to start a business in as well as a great place to live. It’s has to be a city, not just a village.

I’m impressed by the clarity and common sense of what Chris and her team have in mind. They’ll stop adding to an already huge cash stockpile for over-rated green schemes and give everyone a 10 per cent rate cut. They’ll give everyone 15 minutes free parking in shopping zones. ‘

They’ll make new developments include one car space per dwelling. They’ll appoint 35 new rangers so streets will be safer and cleaner rather than add to the bloated city hall bureaucracy. And there will be no new separate bike lanes because they confuse pedestrians and motorists without making it easier for cyclists. I know because I’m one of them.

Chris and I don’t agree on everything but her courage has deepened my life as well as her own. I know that she can bring change for the better to Sydney as well.

Tony Abbott is the Federal Member for Warringah and the Leader of the Opposition.

Have you ever had a major disagreement with a family member that you’ve managed to overcome? Is there someone in your life whom you love but don’t agree with?

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