The gay sister of Tony Abbott has put up her hand for Liberal preselection to run for Sydney Lord Mayor, according to Liberal Party sources.
Sydney’s Wentworth Courier reports today two Liberal Party sources are tipping Christine Forster could seriously challenge incumbent mayor Clover Moore, or at least help the party win more seats if she is preselected.
“I think she could be a huge candidate for us and certainly show what a broad church the Liberal Party really is,” one party member told the newspaper.
Ms Forster made headlines in April when she announced she was a lesbian following intense media interest after her brother’s vocal opposition to same-sex marriage.
She told The Weekend Australian at the time she had tried, unsuccessfully, to change Mr Abbott’s mind on the issue in “spirited” discussions at family events.
“In response to the media interest, I have decided to publicly confirm that I am gay and am in a committed, live-in relationship,” Ms Forster said.
“My brother and I have always had a strong relationship and he respects and supports me and my lifestyle choices.”
Ms Forster declined to comment when contacted by The Australian about whether she was a candidate for preselection.
Mr Abbott, who has ruled out allowing a conscience vote on same-sex marriage bills before parliament, said in April he had helped his sister since her marriage had broken down and she had dealt well with this seismic shift in her identity.
“These things happen,” he told The Weekend Australian.
“I’ve come to the view over the years that the only side you can take is that which tries to maintain relationships,” he said.
“Getting judgmental in ways which damage relationships does no one any good.”
Pressure has increased on Mr Abbott to allow his MPs a conscience vote on same-sex marriage after two Liberal senators spoke out in support of changing the Marriage Act and a right to have their say in parliament.