Radio interview with Mark Ricciuto & Chris Dittmar – Triple M, Adelaide

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

CHRIS DITTMAR:

The ‘yes’ vote as we know was successful, and on the line is our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. Prime Minister, a very good morning to you and thank you for taking our call on such a busy, busy morning for you. Has this all gone to plan? Is this the result you wanted?

PRIME MINISTER:

It certainly is. It has proved to be a unifying moment. It is exactly what I wanted, to give everyone Australian their say. I promised that at the election. We did that. 80 per cent of Australians took up the opportunity and as we know, 61.6 per cent said ‘yes’. Right across the country, nearly 90 per cent of federal, all federal electorates voted ‘yes’. This is a big affirmation, a big affirmation.

CHRIS DITTMAR:

Alright, it certainly is. Now without being negative, or I don’t want to sound negative, but a lot of people voted ‘no’ also. What does it mean for them? What do you say to the 39 per cent of people that voted ‘no’? And I read this morning where people like Mr Abetz from Tasmania will certainly raise this in Parliament in the weeks to come.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it is a democracy and you give everybody their say, everyone’s view is given equal respect but the majority prevails. The vast majority of Australians have voted ‘yes’ to legalise same-sex marriage. Many people, you know, bit over 38 per cent have voted ‘no’ but their voice has been heard and is respected but in a democracy, the majority prevails.

CHRIS DITTMAR:

What about the law moving forward? What if, and we’ve heard all of the examples about you own a cake shop and you don’t want to make the cake with two men on it or two women on it. What if I’m a teacher now at a primary school teaching sex education and I don’t want to talk about same-sex and these types of things. Will it be that democratic? Will people have the right to put their hand up and say look, I don’t believe in this myself so I don’t really want to get involved?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well there is nothing in the proposed change that, in legalising same-sex marriage that restricts freedom of speech. I mean there are, the churches have been saying that forever, that for example divorced people should not be able to get married. The Catholic Church says that.

CHRIS DITTMAR:

Yep.

PRIME MINISTER:

That’s their view but divorced people have been able to get married in Australia for a very long time, as long as I can remember.

CHRIS DITTMAR:

But I’ve seen the ‘yes’, the ‘yes’ people have been a bit more, what can I say, overzealous in trying to promote their side of this. Are you fearful we are going to see some backlashes here? Because I think people should have the right. If you’re a priest or a cake shop whatever, you should have the right to say look, I didn’t vote for this, so I’m sorry, I’m not going to marry you in my church. Should they be allowed to do that moving forward?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, that is actually in the Bill.

CHRIS DITTMAR:

Okay.

PRIME MINISTER:

There is nothing in the Bill that would compel a minister of religion to marry anyone any more than it does today. I mean if you turn up to the Catholic Church with, you know, if you’re not a Catholic for example, they won’t marry you. If you turn up to the synagogue if you’re not Jewish, they won’t marry you.

I mean we have freedom of religion in Australia. We have a nation based on respect, mutual respect and one of the important elements in that is respecting other people’s views. People have different views on political issues, on religious issues, on moral issues and they’re entitled to express them.

MARK RICCIUTO:

Prime Minister I know it was a good day, a great day yesterday - not a good day, a great day - and a lot of people were very, very happy about the result. I think there’s a couple of questions a lot of people want answers to. One of them was why was the cost $120 million? I think a lot of punters out there, you know, anywhere really, struggle to understand the cost of the plebiscite.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it’s people, it’s labour costs. It actually came in at under $100 million.

MARK RICCIUTO:

Okay.

PRIME MINISTER:

So that’s that the statistician said yesterday. So look, it is expensive. But democracy has a price and wasn’t it a great thing to give everybody their say, so that we, as a nation, made this decision.

MARK RICCIUTO:

Secondly I just on that, on that, it does happen more and more with leadership, whether its in the AFL with Gill McLachlan asking clubs for their opinions before they go out and make a decision or the way you’ve done this with same-sex marriage. Is that the new way of leadership, to get out there and get everyone’s opinion before you make a decision? There’s certainly a lot of people out there saying why didn’t you just approve it without going to a plebiscite? 

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I believe it was a great exercise in democracy and a very important part of leadership is keeping your word. At the last election, I promised to give every Australian their say on this. The Labor Party did everything they could to prevent us doing that.  

There was a lot of opposition and criticism to going down the postal survey route. People said young people don’t know what letters are, they don’t know where a post-box is. Man, they found the postbox, don’t you worry. 

[Laughter]

MARK RICCIUTO:

They did!

PRIME MINISTER:

They sure did.

CHRIS DITTMAR:

But why a plebiscite on this? I know it’s a big issue, why a plebiscite on this when we choose not to have plebiscites on other major issues?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, look this is a uniquely personal conscientious issue. It’s an issue that in Parliament, historically, would always be a free vote, a conscience vote, where people can vote where they wish. I think it was, I think this was a great way for the Australian people to have their say. It was the ultimate exercise in democracy and it means that those people who oppose same sex marriage, know that their voice has been heard, but they then say: ‘Okay, we live in a democracy, the decision has been taken, it’s fair’.

CHRIS DITTMAR:

Fair enough. Prime Minister thank you so much for taking our call.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you so much. Great to be with you.

[ENDS]