Television interview with Karl Stefanovic – Today Show, Nine

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

KARL STEFANOVIC:

In one of the most historic votes in our nation, Australia has spoken and they’ve said ‘yes’ to marriage equality. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull joins me now. PM, good morning to you.

PRIME MINISTER:

Good morning, Karl. Isn't it a great result?

KARL STEFANOVIC:

It is a good morning. How did you and Lucy celebrate last night?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, we had dinner and we had a glass of champagne. We were just so thrilled. As you know we have both been long-term supporters of marriage equality and we were just thrilled and so proud that Australia took on this issue. We considered it, respectfully, it was a respectful debate.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Yeah.

PRIME MINISTER:

And then, an overwhelming vote for marriage equality, for fairness, for love.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Any Village People?

[Laughter]

PRIME MINISTER:

No, I wish, if I was in the set with you maybe we could try to do it. But it's a bit hard.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

I will hold you to that. I’ll hold you to that. Did you have any doubts at all? Because I have no doubt Lucy would have absolutely given it to you if the ‘yes’ didn't get up.

PRIME MINISTER:

No, I was always confident the ‘yes’ vote would succeed.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Yep.

PRIME MINISTER:

But you know, expectations and polls have been wrong on so many occasions recently. I guess everyone was holding their breath.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Was there much emotion from you yourself in a quiet moment?

PRIME MINISTER:

I was very, very moved, Karl. I have to say I was very moved. I felt this just said so much about Australia's commitment to a fair go. Also not just the big ‘yes’ vote, 61.6 per cent, but also in a voluntary postal survey, 80 per cent participated.

Remember how many people said: ‘Oh, Australians are apathetic. They’ll never send the forms back, they don't know where the post-box is. Most young people haven’t seen a letter in their lives’. This is a massive turnout.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Disconnect with that for a second, because I think it’s really important - there’s a lot of pressure on you, you went out on a limb. But for you in a quiet moment, to see that vote come back, the kind of emotions that ran through your head?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well Karl, firstly, it's not about me, this is about-

KARL STEFANOVIC:

No, but you are important in it all.

PRIME MINISTER:

I guess it wouldn't have happened without my pushing. And there was a lot of opposition to having this survey, political opposition - crossbenchers, the Labor Party, even people on my own side that didn't want to have it. 

KARL STEFANOVIC:

So how satisfying?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, it’s very satisfying, because we put our faith - I put my faith - in the goodwill, in the common sense of Australians and they responded responsibly with love and with respect. So they put their arms around same-sex couples and said we respect you, we love you, your committed relationship is worthy of the same respect as ours.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Any tears from you?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, I haven't, I didn't tear up, Karl. I do so at times but I haven't teared up yet.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Okay, now the hard work. What makes you so confident you can have this passed by Christmas?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, look there is across the board, mate, everyone has got the message, let's be clear.

The people that have said ‘yes’ in such resounding numbers are our bosses. So we all understand that. And the message is ‘yes’. Now, get on with it and get it done.

The Senate is starting to debate the Bill today, in a few hours, in the Senate this morning. They’ll finish it in the week of the 27th, and then it will come down to the House where it will be dealt with.

So I am very confident it will all be dealt with before Christmas.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

There will be a few amendments though, you’re going to have to muscle in there aren’t you to make sure it all goes through?

PRIME MINISTER:

Sure, there will be plenty of amendments moved. I don't know how many will get carried.

It's a free vote so both on my side and on Labor's side members and senators are able to vote as they wish. So you know, you may see some people voting in ways that you don't expect, but the bottom line is, that it will get through. I have every expectation, highly confident, it will all be done before Christmas.

Look it's a fascinating subject, Karl, but I don't think everyone - anyone here wants to keep talking about it on Christmas Eve.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Hear, hear. Hear, hear to that.

[Laughter]

Despite the outcome, 4.8 million Australians voted ‘no’. How do you marry again - pardon the pun - with the social conservatives in your own party? They’re not a happy lot, are they?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, I disagree there. I think people, everyone accepts this was a, this is a big ‘yes’ vote.

I mean this is what the social conservatives, as you describe them - look, Lucy and I are absolutely committed to marriage you know, we’ve been married for nearly 40 years. So - yet we voted ‘yes’.

We didn't vote ‘yes’ - we voted ‘yes’ - we didn't vote ‘yes’ despite being committed to marriage, we voted ‘yes’ because we are committed to marriage. So that's a very important point.

But anyway, the ‘no’ side, were very keen to have a national vote. They wanted everyone to have their say. So did some people on the ‘yes’ side - and we did.

So the result has to be accepted, we’re a democracy.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Okay, a couple of quick ones - in terms of legacy, this is significant for you. No one can take that away from you. For how long though can you get to enjoy this because those wolves are circling aren’t they PM?

[Laughter]

PRIME MINISTER:

I'm focused on steaming ahead Karl. I'm delivering on my obligations, delivering my promises to the Australian people.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Are you worried?

PRIME MINISTER:

No.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Not worried at all?

PRIME MINISTER:

Not at all. Not at all.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Are you going to be there?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, I will be. See short answers Karl, no waffling this morning. One word answers.

[Laughter]

KARL STEFANOVIC:

I like this side of you. Is it fair to say you’re in a better mood this morning?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes.

[Laughter]

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Outstanding PM.

Will you be Prime Minister when Australia heads to the World Cup Soccer because that is an outstanding result as well isn’t it?

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh, wasn't it great!

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Here you go, you can waffle away.

[Laughter]

PRIME MINISTER:

Wasn’t it great? Mile Jedinak. Yeah, well, that’s great. Hat-trick. No, it was fantastic. I caught the second half of the second half. So it was brilliant. It was great.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

There’s only one thing to do and I think, I know you like a challenge, just finally, if you can convince Vlad to say ‘yes’ to gay major before the World Cup, that would be something.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, I think we have got it - remember politics is the art of the possible.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

[Laughter]

PM good to talk to you this morning. Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER:

Good to see you Karl.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Thank you.

[ENDS]