Interview with Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson - Today Show

Transcript
29 Sep 2017
Prime Minister
Security at crowded places; NRL and AFL grand finals; Macklemore; same-sex marriage; Playboy in Australia; footy tips
E&OE

LISA WILKINSON:

Now, it is a huge weekend for millions of sports fans across the country as grand finals fever sweeps the nation.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

And one of the fans joins us now. Prime Minister welcome. Round of applause for the PM everyone.

[Applause]

PRIME MINISTER:

Thanks very much.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Are you all kinds of pumped for this weekend?

PRIME MINISTER:

The energy in Melbourne particularly here in Tigerland, is amazing.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Yeah its good. There's lots of security around too, beefed up. Are you comfortable with everything, that both codes can handle it?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah there’s a lot of planning goes into the big events. Ever since some of the attacks last year, particularly the Nice truck attack, we have ramped up the protection of crowded places, big national strategy, working with the owners of venues like ‘The G’ and commercial centres, local government, states, a lot of effort’s been put into it, believe me.

LISA WILKINSON:

Will people arriving at the games feel that heightened security? Or is there a lot of undercover surveillance that’s going on as well?

PRIME MINISTER:

We always try to make the security as unobtrusive as possible, but people will notice there is more security. But the main thing is to keep people safe.

LISA WILKINSON:

Yeah.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

PM the same-sex marriage debate has crept into both codes in the lead up to these grand finals. Your thoughts?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, Lucy and I support a 'yes' vote. We’ve actually already voted.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Yep.

PRIME MINISTER:

As have a lot of Australians, there has been a very high turn out. The survey has actually been embraced, I think, people really like having their say. We’ve encouraged people to vote 'yes' and the NRL and the AFL are supporting ‘yes’ and they're entitled to do so.

The AFL, I mean both codes, have been champions of inclusiveness whether it's women, women’s sport, women’s AFL in particular has been a big hit. You know the whole ensuring that there is more and more indigenous participation. Look at the work Bachar Houli does here, with the Bachar Houli academy. I’ve been down here a few times supporting him, it’s fantastic.

You know these codes, all the big sports, are a means of bringing Australians together, whatever their racial background, religious background, sexual orientation, gender. You know we are the most successful multicultural society in the world. We’re inclusive and the basis of that is mutual respect and sports bring everyone together.

LISA WILKINSON:

We’ve had a lot of talk about US rapper Macklemore singing at the NRL Grand Final with his song that very much celebrates sex, same-sex marriage. What do you say to people who say they don't want politics mixed in with their sport?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, it's a question of respecting the artist. I mean that's one of his top songs, it’s one of his hits. People expect him to play it. He wants to play it. The NRL supports same-sex marriage, what's the problem? Honestly, I don't think trying to censor the playlist at halftime entertainment is – it’s certainly not my role. I look forward to it.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Are you familiar with Macklemore?

PRIME MINISTER:

Not very. I was joking last night and I said ever since Tupac I’d lost interest in hip hop.

[Laughter]

Look, to be honest the rappers, all the songs sound pretty similar to me.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Oh come on PM!

[Laughter]

Hey, also he has come out saying that he has copped a lot of flak from 'angry white dudes'. Is Tony Abbott an angry white dude?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well he is certainly a white dude and I guess it depends on his mood at the time.

LISA WILKINSON:

Are you sick of Tony Abbott chiming in yet?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I’m very patient and I’ve got a lot of respect for everyone. Everyone is entitled to have their say and if people want to express views on songs or anything else, they're entitled to do so.

But I'm for free speech and in this case for the artist's bill of rights to sing his song. I mean, in 1991 at the NRL Grand Final the Village People did 'YMCA'. I mean that’s -

LISA WILKINSON:

Gotta bring them back!

[Laughter]

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Do you regret that some of the debate has got ugly?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, its got ugly at the edges Karl.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Yeah.

PRIME MINISTER:

The media do tend amplify a relatively small number of ugly incidents. Every single one of which is to be deplored and condemned, but overwhelmingly Australians have embraced this debate with goodwill and respect. You know, I did a ‘Politics in the Pub’ in Caloundra recently at an RSL actually, with the local members Andrew Wallace and Ted O'Brien. They had a big crowd there, 300 people. There were people who were for same-sex marriage or legalising it and there were people who were against it. Each side listened to the other with respect. It was very respectful. You know, I made clear that I supported it. Nobody, you know, challenged me or objected to that. It was a very respectful discussion and that's what's happening overwhelmingly.

LISA WILKINSON:

Yet if you talk to a lot of gay people, they say that they are suffering vilification that they have never felt before in Australia.

PRIME MINISTER:

Look, I think there's been a lot of intolerance in years passed, there's no question about that, towards gay people. Legalising same-sex marriage, recognising that at the heart of marriage is commitment - that's what marriage is all about –

LISA WILKINSON:

And love.

PRIME MINISTER:

Love of course, that's the foundation I suppose. Love is the foundation but it's about commitment. The enemy of marriage is lack of commitment.

You know, if Lucy and I, who will have shortly have been married for 38 years, if a gay couple down the road or around the corner get married, that's not going to affect our marriage. In fact, them showing their commitment underlines the importance of commitment.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

So no regrets on the plebiscite?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, well look, we took it to the election Karl. I mean, I made a commitment at the election to give everyone their say and I'm honouring that commitment.

You know, nobody is saying that I’ve broken election promises. How long has it been since you’ve had a Government nearly halfway through its term after the election, where people aren’t saying: 'You’ve broken all these promises'?

We have just honoured the commitments we’ve made. As you know, we’ve got an extraordinary amount of legislation in the Parliament, notwithstanding we don't have a majority in the Upper House.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Here’s something I didn’t know about you and if I’ve got it wrong, please let me know, I’m sure you will. You were the man who brought Playboy to Australia. Tell us more.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well Kerry Packer sent me over to Chicago in about '78 to negotiate the licensing deal for Playboy in Australia. So I spent about three - not in the Playboy mansion, I regret to say –

LISA WILKINSON:

Did you ever get to the Playboy mansion?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, no –

LISA WILKINSON:

Seriously –

PRIME MINISTER:

I know, everyone wants, they want to hear stories about the Playboy mansion. I tell you, I went to Chicago. In those days Hugh Hefner had already moved to LA, but his daughter Christie was running the company. I negotiated with her you know, in their office building in Chicago. I was there for about three weeks and we got the deal done and as you know the following year, I think in February '79, Kerry launched the Australian edition of Playboy.

LISA WILKINSON:

With, I think Karen Pini as the very first centrefold in Playboy. So you never made it to the -

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah. Those staples must have hurt.

[Laughter]

LISA WILKINSON:

An oldie but a goody. A good dad joke.

PRIME MINISTER:

Staple in the belly button.

LISA WILKINSON:

You never made it to the Grotto? That infamous pool at the Playboy mansion?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, I didn’t. No, I was -

LISA WILKINSON:

Do you feel like you missed out?

PRIME MINISTER:

I was a very focused young lawyer you know, just doing my job.

[Laughter]

LISA WILKINSON:

Of course.

PRIME MINISTER:

For Kerry, getting the deal done.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Well, you got it done. Before you go, can we get your tips for both, first of all the AFL Grand Final?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah, well Richmond.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Richmond?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah, Tigers.

[Applause]

Okay, now all of you here have forgotten more about AFL than I’ll ever learn, so I say this with modesty and humility; but based on my advice and -

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Research.

PRIME MINISTER:

A bit of research, I would say Richmond by five.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Nice.

LISA WILKINSON:

And what about NRL?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah, Cowboys.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Cowboys!

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah, Cowboys, the sentimental favourite, I know that won't be popular in Melbourne, but –

LISA WILKINSON:

Do you want to give us a score? By how many points in each?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I’ll say the Cowboys by four.

LISA WILKINSON:

Okay and the AFL?

PRIME MINISTER:

By five, Richmond by five. But it’ll be a very close game. Richmond will be trying to - they will be much more defensive, stronger in the middle.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

PM, can we get you to kick this ball out into the oval? You want to see this everyone?

LISA WILKINSON:

Go on. You’ve got to make up for that basketball shot Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER:

Alright, I’ll handball. Okay, here you go.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Woah!

LISA WILKINSON:

There you go.

PRIME MINISTER:

Handball, righto. Alright. 

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Thank you PM.

LISA WILKINSON:

Thanks Prime Minister.

[ENDS]