Man who headbutted Abbott jailed

April 13, 2018
Astro Labe.

Astro Labe, the Hobart DJ who headbutted former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in September last year, has been sentenced to the maximum six-month jail term. He will be eligible for parole after two months, when he will be required to pay $2000 and commit no offence for two years.

The Hobart Magistrates Court was told Labe had been drinking at the Whaler pub in Salamanca Place when he saw Abbott walk past. Labe followed him and asked to shake his hand, before headbutting him, saying “you fucking deserved it”. Abbott was left with a swollen lip after the incident.

In his sentencing remarks, Deputy Chief Magistrate Michael Daly told Labe that the attack on Mr Abbott was "opportunistic and unprovoked" and was "motivated by contempt for Mr Abbott".

“Your opportunity to do harm to him was created by pretty cowardly deception,” Daly said. “Causing an ideological opponent harm is not how differences are to be addressed in our society.”

Labe was initially charged with assault but pleaded guilty in January to the upgraded offence of causing harm to a commonwealth public official.

Daly said it appeared Labe had shown a lack of remorse immediately following the "highly public affair". "You're sorry your actions have resulted in adverse consequences for you ... rather than remorse for the offending itself."

Daly acknowledged Labe's cooperation with investigators and his early guilty plea, but said the sentence needed to be a deterrent to others. He said parliamentarians must be able to undertake their work without fear.

At the time, Abbott told the media the attacker was wearing a "Vote Yes" badge, which led some people to say the incident was indicative of the equal marriage campaign's tactics. However, Labe said the incident "had nothing whatsoever to do with marriage equality".

Labe, who worked as a DJ under the name "Funknukl", told the ABC he was a "lone anarchist" who felt the need to headbutt Mr Abbott because he "didn't think it was an opportunity I'd get again".

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