Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has stood his ground in the fight to preserve traditional marriage in the land down under; for that stance, he was recently given a violent butt to the head by someone who forcefully disagreed.

The former PM had been in Tasmania lunching with pro-traditional marriage supporters when a critic hit him while returning to his hotel.

"I was walking from the Mercury office across that docks area, that beautiful docks area in Hobart, towards my hotel," Abbott said to Steve Price and Sky News host Andrew Bolt on Melbourne’s 3AW radio on Thursday.

"A fellow sung out at me 'Hey Tony!' I turned around, there was a chap wearing a Vote Yes badge. He says 'I wanna shake your hand'. I went over to shake his hand and then he headbutted me," Abbott continued. "Now he wasn’t very good at it I’ve gotta say, but he did make contact. The only damage was a very, very slightly swollen lip."

Thankfully, his staff member "grappled with this guy" before he "ran off swearing his head off basically."

"It was just a reminder of how ugly this debate is getting," Abbott said.

A spokesman for Abbott said he only sustained minor injuries: "He didn’t have a blood nose or break his nose or anything like that.​"

Alex Greenwich MP, co-chair for The Equality Campaign, condemned the attack.

"There is absolutely no place for violence in the marriage equality debate. This is about treating people fairly and with respect & dignity," he said on Twitter.

"Marriage equality is about respect and dignity for every Australian ... our campaign has always and will continue to call for respect and everyone involved in this debate to act in a respectful and dignified way," he said in a separate statement.