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Last Updated: Monday, 21 February 2005, 13:48 GMT
Australian reunion with a twist
Health Minister Tony Abbott
Abbott says he want to make a fresh start with his new-found son
An Australian minister who was reunited with the son he placed for adoption 27 years ago found out they had been working in the same building.

Health Minister Tony Abbott said he was "flabbergasted" when he was contacted by Daniel O'Connor, the boy he and his teenage girlfriend last saw in 1977.

Both men realised they had been working close by in parliament where Mr O'Connor is a sound technician.

"I think it is a wonderful story," said Prime Minister John Howard.

Mr Abbott told reporters about his Christmas reunion with the son he had last held as a five-day-old baby.

New start

He said: "I was flabbergasted, but thought to myself, 'What do you know? Truth is stranger than fiction'.

"He and I had frequently been within touching distance of each other.

"In particular the poor fellow had on occasion had to put an earpiece into my waxy ear.

"Whoever would have thought that two people hitherto unknown to each other but rather close to each other could have been so connected in this way."

Mr Abbott, a leading right-to-life advocate, said he had fathered the child when he was a 19-year-old student.

But he said he had placed him for adoption because he "just wasn't ready for parenthood".

The minister, who is married and has three daughters, said he now hoped to develop a relationship with his newfound son.

Mr O'Connor, a sound recordist for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation at parliament in Canberra, said he had got in touch with his biological parents through an adoption agency.

He made contact with his biological mother, well-known artist Kathy Donnelly, on Christmas Eve and met Mr Abbott two days later.

He said: "I was just surprised more than anything that I worked in the same building as him and had met him on numerous occasions."


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