Abbott was egged on by chants of ‘Skol! Skol!’ as he necked the schooner – which holds about three quarters of a pint – before a delighted audience of university footballers at the Royal Oak Hotel, in Sydney.

Abbott was greeted by the Aussie rules footballers, from the University of Technology, when he visited the pub on Saturday night. He accepted their invitation to have a drink with them – and made short work of his beer as he guzzled it down in next to no time.

Abbott’s macho stunt has left him open to accusations of hypocrisy after he criticised binge drinking only last year. “Like most Australians I enjoy a drink on social occasions,” he said in January 2014. “However, as a father and as a citizen, I’m appalled by the violent binge-drinking culture that now seems so prevalent, especially at ‘hot spots’ in our big cities.”

But Abbott’s beer-swilling feat is likely to restore his reputation in some quarters after he was mercilessly ridiculed during the 2010 election campaign for ordering a ‘shandy lite’ while his then-opponent Julia Gillard opted for a full strength ale.

Either way, Abbott still has a long way to go to match the legendary drinking feats of former prime minister Bob Hawke, who is credited with setting a world record by knocking back two-and-a-half pints in 11 seconds.