LONDON (Reuters) - Britain named former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott as an adviser to its Board of Trade on Friday, rejecting opposition complaints that his conservative views about women, gay rights and climate change made him unfit to represent the United Kingdom.
Abbott served as Australian PM from 2013 to 2015.
* A pugnacious and socially conservative Catholic, Abbott was born in London. He graduated from the University of Sydney with a law and economics degree. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, majoring in politics, philosophy and economics, and won two awards in boxing.
* Abbott has opposed embryonic stem cell research, same-sex marriage and carbon trading to combat climate change. His book on Australian conservative politics published in 2009 was titled “Battlelines.”
He has provoked accusations of misogyny for suggesting that men may be better adapted to exercising authority than women, and for calling abortion “the easy way out”.
* Trained to be a priest at St Patrick’s Seminary, Sydney, in the mid-1980s, Abbott was later given the nickname “The Mad Monk” by his political critics. He also worked as a journalist at Australia’s now defunct “The Bulletin” monthly news magazine and wrote editorials for Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian newspaper.
* During the coronavirus crisis, Abbott has railed against what he calls “health dictatorships”, saying states across the world are ordering people about. He said that every life was precious but that families sometimes had to elect to allow elderly relatives to die as nature took its course.
* Abbott became leader of Australia’s centre-right opposition Liberal Party in 2009. Four years later he became prime minister, taking advantage of leadership turmoil in the governing Labor Party to score an emphatic election win, but his popularity soon waned. He was toppled two years later in a party leadership contest.
Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Peter Graff
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