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Gay sister of Australian opposition leader wins Sydney council seat

Tony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster wins a seat on Sydney’s council
Christine Forster and her partner Virginia Edwards

The lesbian sister of the Australian opposition leader has won a seat on the Sydney City Council.

Chrisitne Forster’s seat was confirmed during a late count on Friday night, meaning that she and another councillor will represent the Liberal party, which is led nationally by her brother Tony Abbott, on the council.

‘I am honoured to be able to represent the community of Sydney,’ Forster said, as reported by The Australian. ‘It’s a great global city. I'm thrilled to be able to represent them.’

Independent Clover Moore, a LGBT rights supporter, won a third term as Lord Mayor of Sydney. A change of rules means she has to give up her seat as MP for Sydney, and Australian Marriage Equality campaigner Alex Greenwich is considering standing for election to replace her.

Forster, who lives with her partner Virginia Edwards and supports same-sex marriage, said in an interview SX magazine in August that there’s a chance her brother might change his anti-gay-marriage stance. ‘I would say just keep doing what you’re doing because Tony listens to people,’ she said.

Abbott’s insistence that Liberal and National MPs in the coalition he leads vote as a block against gay marriage is the biggest obstacle to legislation being passed in Australia.

When questioned by SX on her Liberal party membership in light of their bad record on LGBT rights, Forster said:

‘As a gay person, you join a political party because you agree with the beliefs of the party. The fundamental beliefs of the Liberal Party are respect and freedom for individuals, free enterprise and giving people the ability to make decisions about their own lives to better themselves and their families.’ 

In a letter from Abbott delivered to Sydney residents before the election he said:

‘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… 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.’ 

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