Tony Abbott's sister, who is gay and wed her long-term partner with her brother by her side, has come to the former prime minister's defence after he was labelled a 'sexist homophobe'.
He has received widespread criticism from British politicians and commentators following his newly appointed role as a trade envoy for the United Kingdom.
The former Australian prime minister was even branded a 'misogynist, a sexist and a climate change denier' by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on British morning television.
He has also been criticised for suggesting older people should be left to die from coronavirus, to spare younger generations from the economic burden.
But his young sister, Christine Forster, has since released a very personal statement online defending her 'compassionate and respectful' brother.
'It is nothing short of dishonesty for commentators and politicians who do not know Tony to label him a 'homophobe' and a 'misogynist' for the purpose of scoring cheap political points,' she said.
Tony Abbott's sister Christine Forster (pictured, centre) wed long-time partner Virginia Flitcroft (left) in 2018, and has now come out in defence of her brother
Ms Forster, has since released a very personal statement (pictured) online defending her 'compassionate and respectful' brother
'As a woman who has always been part of his life and who came out to him as gay in my early 40s, I know incontrovertibly that Tony is neither of those things'.
She married her long-time partner, Virginia Flitcroft, in 2018.
Criticism of the appointment grew once again this morning, however, with shadow international trade secretary Emily Thornberry describing 'two factors that should have immediately disqualified him'.
She said: 'First, his history of offensive statements is so long and repetitive that it speaks to serious defects in his character, which is not one I think should be representing Britain on the world stage.
'And second, the fact that he has no experience of detailed trade negotiations, no understanding of Brexit, no belief in climate change, no concern for workers' rights, and no compunction about killing off Australia's car industry mean, to my mind, that he has no credentials for this role.
'Tony Abbott is therefore the wrong appointment on every level, which begs the more important question of why on earth Boris Johnson and Liz Truss have given him the job.
The former Australian prime minister was branded a 'misogynist, a sexist and a climate change denier' by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on British morning television (pictured: Tony Abbott arrives at a book launch in Sydney, Monday, November 25, 2019)
'However, with this shambolic excuse for a Government, we may continue to be appalled and disappointed at their serial incompetence, but we should never any longer be surprised.'
It comes as Mr Abbott released a statement on Twitter about his new role, in which he said he was 'only too keen' to help the UK.
'A UK-Australia trade deal, maximising the movement of goods, services and people is clearly in the best interests of both our countries,' he said.
'It's important for the wider world that Britain make the most of its post-Brexit opportunities and I am proud to be playing a part.
'My government finalised trade deals between Australia and China, Japan and Korea. I'm looking forward