He may have spent two years as prime minister, but Tony Abbott will forever be remembered for a far more bizarre event in his political career.
The federal member for Warringah left Australians baffled after he tucked into a raw brown onion – skin and all – whilst visiting a factory in rural Tasmania in 2015.
Now, almost four years since the memorable gaffe, Abbott has finally come up with a reasonable explanation for his impromptu snack all those years ago.
Appearing on Sky News’ The Bolt Report on Thursday evening, Abbott claimed that everyone eats raw onion from time to time.
“The farmer understandably was incredibly proud of his produce,” the former PM said. “All of us eat raw onion occasionally, salads are full of raw onion.
“I thought the least I can do for someone who is as proud of his product as this particular farmer was, was take a chomp and it was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.”
.@TonyAbbottMHR on his decision to eat a raw onion during a visit to a Tasmanian farm in 2015: All of us eat raw onion occasionally. I thought the least I could do for this farmer was to 'take a chomp, and it was beautiful.'
— The Bolt Report (@theboltreport) February 7, 2019
The stunt, which took place when Abbott was still leading the country, made headlines around the world at the time, after it appeared that the pollie hadn’t even bothered to peel the onion before taking a bite.
The bizarre footage shows Abbott engaging in conversation with the proud farmer before unexpectedly bringing the onion up to his mouth and taking a bite, appearing to grimace slightly as he chews his way through the strong-smelling veggie.
However Abbott also told presenter Andrew Bolt this week that the onion in question had already lost all of its outer skin, adding that it had “effectively been peeled” before he made the decision to give it a taste.
Abbott, who will be contesting his long-held NSW seat at the next federal election, hasn’t just eaten a raw onion once though, as he also repeated the gaffe in 2017, again in Tasmania.
The former Liberal Party leader will face competition from independent candidate – and former Olympic skier – Zali Steggall, when the polls open in May.
Steggall has spoken out about Abbott’s failures around the issue of climate change, telling the Guardian Australia that he had “continually denied climate change” and said the conversation has “moved on” from carbon pricing because renewables were already cheaper than coal.