Radio interview with Eddie McGuire, Luke Darcy and Wil Anderson – Triple M, Melbourne

Transcript
16 Nov 2017
Prime Minister
Same-sex marriage
E&OE

EDDIE McGUIRE:

We’ve got everyone in this morning - Wil Anderson, Luke Darcy and myself - good morning Malcolm.

PRIME MINISTER:

Good morning Eddie.

EDDIE McGUIRE:

Tell me what your thoughts are this morning, mate, with the ‘yes’ vote getting up?

PRIME MINISTER:

What a great day it was yesterday. What an amazing decision. What generosity and love and respect shown by the Australian people with that huge majority in favour of marriage equality.

Aren’t you proud, today, Eddie?

EDDIE McGUIRE:

Very much.

WIL ANDERSON:

Oh, we’re amazingly proud, Prime Minister, but what we really want to know is what happens now? Because essentially you’ve just done $120 million survey, we’ve got the right result now, but it means absolutely nothing if we do not put this through the Parliament before Christmas and gay people can get married by next year – is it going to happen?

PRIME MINISTER:

It sure will. It’s being debated in the Senate. The debate on the Bill is starting this morning. So everything’s underway.

The Bill was introduced yesterday within hours of the result being known and they’ll be all starting to give their speeches in the Senate this morning. It’ll continue through to when the Senate rises tonight and then when the Senate comes back on the 27th, they’ll spend that whole week and they’ll finish it in that week and then it will come down to the House of Representatives and it will be dealt with there.

EDDIE McGUIRE:

Prime Minister, in 1989, sorry, 1999, at the Republican Convention and subsequent vote, the vote went against what you and I stood for.

PRIME MINISTER:

That’s right.

EDDIE McGUIRE:

When the Australian public spoke, we stepped aside gracefully and allowed it be pushed through. This is far bigger mandate for gay marriage. Do you think it is time now for those have been promulgating the ‘no’ vote to gracefully step aside and acquiesce to the majority feel?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I don’t think there’ll be much if any opposition to same-sex marriage being made legal in the Parliament, Eddie. I really don’t. Look, I can’t speak for every member and senator - it is a free vote but overwhelmingly there’ll be support.

There are some members who are vehemently opposed to same-sex marriage who have said they will abstain. I’ve noticed that. I think passage is assured but there will obviously be debate about amendments and that is fine, that was always expected. And there will be amendments proposed and debated and some of them will get up or some of them may get up, most of the probably won’t. But that is a matter for the Parliament. You will see Parliament at its best. 

WIL ANDERSON:

But Prime Minister, you’re going to have to be careful that we don’t roll back any rights of gay and lesbian people, LGBTI people in our community through this process.

PRIME MINISTER:

My position has been very clear on that and I think that is shared by the vast majority of members and senators and I think you can, the same generosity, the same respect that was shown by the Australian people in that overwhelming majority for the ‘yes’ vote, you’re going to see in the Parliament over the next few weeks.

LUKE DARCY:

Prime Minister, there has been a fair bit of criticism about the process, the fact we had the non-binding vote and the cost of it and going to do that. If you had your time again, and now we end with the situation where it is, you and your colleagues who are voting on it in the Parliament, if you had your time again would you do the same system, the same way?

PRIME MINISTER:

I reckon it has been an amazing affirmation actually. You know, I have to say, look, think about this – if you are a young gay person and you are struggling with your concerns about how your parents feel about you, how your friends feel about you. You know you’ve got issues about your identity. Suddenly the Australian people in a huge majority have affirmed their respect for you. They’ve said you, your committed partnership with your partner is as respected as that of your parents. It will be seen by the law as a marriage. That is a massive confidence booster. It is an affirmation of the nation for a young person like that.

I think this has been a triumph this postal survey. Its been extraordinary. Think about the participation - 80 per cent in a voluntary survey! You know people said Australians didn’t want to have their say. Man, they did. They did. 80 per cent turnout, unheard of. This has been a triumph for democracy.

EDDIE McGUIRE:

Prime Minister do you go into your party room and point at a few people and say: ‘Hey you, you’re out of step with your own electorate, pull your head in’ - is there any of that going to go on?

PRIME MINISTER:

Eddie, everyone can read the numbers. Everyone can see what the numbers are and they can see what the votes were and of course you know there are plenty of times when Members of Parliament will take positions that are different to that held by the majority of the people in their electorate. You obviously have to be careful about doing that too much because they might decide to get someone that does agree with them. But I think on this – this is very much an issue of personal conscience and I think voters respect that, but what we also have to respect is an emphatic unequivocal message for parliament to get on with it and get it done.

EDDIE McGUIRE:

Prime Minister, you led us on the international stage, we have now joined every other speaking English country, I think, in the world now to have this decision go through. Can you just tell us, and just give us a little but of the emotion and feeling that you started off this interview with about how you felt yesterday in your seat of Wentworth, which was the overwhelming seat in Australia I think with the highest ‘yes’ vote? How you felt as the Prime Minister of Australia to know that we have voted in a tolerant and accepting fashion?

PRIME MINISTER:

I’m so proud Eddie. I’m so proud of Australia and of Australians. You know this is a divisive issue that people have had strong views about. This debate was conducted respectfully, it was civil and we voted, and we voted overwhelmingly for love, for commitment, for marriage equality. This is an affirmation of marriage. I mean, let’s be frank, the threats to marriage are not two gay people getting married, the threats to marriage are you know desertion, neglect, violence, adultery. So what we’re saying here is saying that that commitment of one person to another is a commitment that we respect, regardless of their gender and that is a big statement. That mutual respect is what makes Australia so great. Put another way it’s a fair go. That’s very Australian.

EDDIE McGUIRE:

Thanks very much Prime Minister, we know you’ve got a busy morning, we really appreciate you coming on and having a chat to us on Triple M in Melbourne.

PRIME MINISTER:

Great to be with you, thanks Eddie.

[ENDS]