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Another witness to wall 'punch'

Date

Mark Coultan

Tony Abbott, a second-year economics student at Sydney University, is photographed in his office.

Tony Abbott, a second-year economics student at Sydney University, is photographed in his office. Photo: Archive photo

Another witness has come forward to contradict Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's denial that he intimidated a student rival by punching a wall next to her head during their student days.

The man, a student at the time, said he was outside the Student Representative Council's offices photocopying when ''Abbott's famous flying squad of goons crashed down the stairs, threw me against the wall, kicked in the doors of the SRC, and started creating havoc''.

The man, who emphasises that he was not involved in the SRC election, said it was extremely scary, as they were clearly looking for a fight. But he was so angry he followed them into the building.

''I saw Abbott throw a punch at Barbara Ramjan, but didn't see it land … when next I saw her, she was in an extremely shocked condition, leaning against the wall … I thought he had actually struck her, but I can see that was simply my assumption and rationalisation. If Ms Ramjan says the punches were aimed next to her head, I can't actually in fact contradict that … simply I saw Abbott swinging punches, and certainly indulging in serious argy-bargy. I saw him swing a punch, I saw her in great distress.''

The witness wishes to remain anonymous but says he is willing to sign a statutory declaration about what he saw, if necessary.

The events of 35 years ago have been reignited by a Quarterly Essay written by former Fairfax journalist David Marr.

According to Ms Ramjan, the Student Representative Council's student welfare officer who beat him in an election, Mr Abbott approached her after her victory.

She thought he was going to congratulate her. Instead, she said: ''He came up to within an inch of my nose and punched the wall on either side of my head.'' Mr Abbott has denied the event took place.

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