Television interview on The Project, Network Ten

Transcript
28 Sep 2017
Prime Minister
NRL half time entertainment; Same-sex marriage; Football finals; Hugh Hefner
E&OE

GORGI COGHLAN:

Please welcome, our ‘yes’ voting Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. So, Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER:

George Brandis - a rapper. That’s fantastic. That is just so good.

[Laughter]

GORGI COGHLAN:

Prime Minister, do you have a favourite hip-hop artist?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I’m still grieving for Tupac.

[Laughter]

RYAN FITZGERALD:

Wow!

PRIME MINISTER:

It has been a long time. It’s been a long time.

PETER HELLIAR:

We weren't expecting that!

WALEED ALY:

I thought you were an NWA man.

RYAN FITZGERALD:

Let's talk about Macklemore, because what people also don't know, that song actually went to number one, Australia loved that song. It was a number one for four weeks. So should he be performing it this Sunday?

PRIME MINISTER:

He should perform whatever he wants to perform. I mean for heaven’s sake, look, it’s the half time entertainment at the Grand Final. They’ve got a great artist. He will sing his top hits, that's one of them. That's great.

PETER HELLIAR:

Tony Abbott is saying that he obviously doesn't want the performance to happen. Does that make his free speech argument hypocritical?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, let me put it this way, you know, trying to censor the playlist at the half time entertainment at the Grand Final, is not consistent with taking a liberal approach to free speech.

I assume Tony is expressing an artistic view. He is entitled to express a view about songs but you know, look, the reality is, it's the NRL’s Grand Final - they have chosen an artist, he is going to perform some songs, they will be popular songs. Maybe not everyone will like them. It doesn't matter. That’s entertainment.

WALEED ALY:

I don't think he is expressing an artistic view. It's not like he is saying the beat is not fat enough or something like that.

[LAUGHTER]

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, you know, I am a free speech person. Okay? I believe in free speech. I believe that - I don't think we should go around censoring playlists on, you know, on songs. Let him play the song.

You said it was a hit. You know, as I said, I just after Tupac, I just couldn’t –

[LAUGHTER]

Frankly, a lot of the hip-hop, most of the hip-hop music all sounds the same to me. I hope that is not too much of a confession.

RYAN FITZGERALD:

Oh, they’ll come after you now Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER:

We need to - anyway, alright. We will do some rapping here. “Waleed, you are the man, you're the Tigers fan.”

[LAUGHTER]

GORGI COGHLAN:

Wow.

RYAN FITZGERALD:

A bit of 8-Mile over here?

PRIME MINISTER:

“You can talk, the Crows can squawk.”

[LAUGHTER]

A couple of decks here.

RYAN FITZGERALD:

You’re doing the dance!

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah, that’s right – gotta get the decks going.

RYAN FITZGERALD:

I know you’ve got people that write for you, but, yeah geez, you learnt that very quickly!

WALEED ALY:

The only other person to rap on this desk was Steve Price. It’s a very unusual couple. But it is a bit of an incendiary intervention, isn’t it? Like, I mean to-

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh, no. Don’t.

WALEED ALY:

No, no-

PRIME MINISTER:

Everyone else, everyone is focused on the football.

WALEED ALY:

No, no - not everybody, clearly. And this is the point.

PRIME MINISTER:

Really? Okay.

WALEED ALY:

Look, I just think about this. And I go, at the start of-

PRIME MINISTER:

We were just having fun, Waleed. Why are you such a downer? We are having fun. We are having fun. It is Thursday night. There are two grand finals. Everyone is here in Melbourne being happy and you want to be grim and torture this issue.

PETER HELLIAR:

And talk about politics!

[LAUGHTER]

PRIME MINISTER:

And go on and on about the song and should they play the song.

WALEED ALY:

No, no, I am not talking about that anymore.

PRIME MINISTER:

You will talk about this song for longer than it takes him to sing the song. Seriously. This is really dull.

WALEED ALY:

My question is not-

PRIME MINISTER:

Anyway, keep going.

WALEED ALY:

And I appreciate your efforts to try to avoid this serious question.

PRIME MINISTER:

It’s a seriously dull question.

WALEED ALY:

I haven’t asked it yet.

PRIME MINISTER:

Okay.

WALEED ALY:

You can give me five stars or none at the end of it.

PRIME MINISTER:

No, we’ll give you, we’ll mark him out of ten – alright? One is dull, ten is fascinating. Alright.

PETER HELLIAR:

Did you get that breathalyzer I gave you a few weeks ago?

[LAUGHTER]

WALEED ALY:

At the start of this process-

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes.

WALEED ALY:

I recall you saying you really believed Australia could have a civil debate.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah, and we have had.

WALEED ALY:

This sort of intervention, and there have been many other episodes too, but I don't really regard as particularly civil. Why did you think Australia could have a civil debate when your own party couldn't?

PRIME MINISTER:

Waleed, that is so wrong. I mean, somebody expressing a view which I don't share, right, I do not share his view about the song - I think let him sing the song, it's a popular song. He is a popular artist. That's cool. But he has expressed that civilly. There have been a few ugly incidents in the debate about legalising same-sex marriage. The vast majority of people have - the vast, 99.999 per cent have dealt with this issue respectfully and civilly as Australians do.

I have enormous respect for the good sense, the commonsense, the respect, the decency of the Australian people, their maturity and they are demonstrating that and confirming that by having a sensible discussion about same-sex marriage.

I have to say, Waleed, I really disagreed with you when you basically said Australians weren't grown up enough to have a say on whether same-sex marriage should be legalised.

I am voting ‘yes’. Lucy voted ‘yes’. We have encouraged others to do so. We will see what the people have to say. I respect the people.

WALEED ALY:

Just on that, can I ask you when I said that? I don’t recall that.

PRIME MINISTER:

You were critical about having the plebiscite, you were.

WALEED ALY:

Yeah, no I am critical about it but I don't think I said Australians aren't mature enough.

PRIME MINISTER:

No, but you said it would be a horrible debate and people would say mean things-

WALEED ALY:

Okay, if we’re going to do this, let’s get serious. We have seen assaults over this. We have seen people waking up daily, people who have gone back to counselling who previously never had to. People who have said they feel like they are back in high school when they were being humiliated. Now, I didn't mean to go down this path, but since you’re attacking me.

PRIME MINISTER:

Sure.

WALEED ALY:

Don't you have to own up to that? Don't you have to say that that stuff is going on, it's real and it's directly caused by the fact that we are having this conversation.

PRIME MINISTER:

Okay, so here is the proposition that you are making, Waleed - you’re saying that because a tiny percentage of Australians will behave uncivilly and disrespectfully, that means the vast majority of Australians are not entitled to have their say. And I say-

WALEED ALY:

That's not what I said.

PRIME MINISTER:

No, but that’s the consequence of what you’re saying.

WALEED ALY:

I never said people are not entitled to have their say. I said the consequence of doing this will be some real nastiness and we’ve seen it.

PRIME MINISTER:

There is nastiness at a federal election. There are people that say mean things and do mean things and do illegal things but we still have elections. The reality is a democracy operates by giving people their say.

Now I grant you, this survey is, you know, doesn't have a precedent. It's new. But it is democratic and I have to tell you, I think the vast majority of Australians have embraced it with enthusiasm and with good humour.

RYAN FITZGERALD:

We don't have much time.

PRIME MINISTER:

So let’s get back to that.

RYAN FITZGERALD: 

We have got two grand finals on the weekend, we need to get your tips Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER:

I'm tipping Richmond and the Cowboys in the NRL.

RYAN FITZGERALD:

Oh, wow.

GORGI COGHLAN:

Oh, Richmond!

WALEED ALY:

Oh, this is a room full of Adelaidians.

[LAUGHTER]

PETER HELLIAR:

You just lost about 30 votes.

PRIME MINISTER:

I know, I know, but it’s the sentimental favourite.

RYAN FITZGERALD:

Yeah.

PETER HELLIAR:

Yeah and true or false, you spent some time in the Playboy Mansion - is that correct?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, it is not correct. That is not correct.

[LAUGHTER]

PETER HELLIAR:

Are you sure?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, no, I’ll tell you what happened.

RYAN FITZGERALD:

Then why are you squirming in your seat for?

[LAUGHTER]

PRIME MINISTER:

I went over there - I hate to say this but it was nearly 40 years ago - to negotiate with actually Hugh Hefner's daughter Christie who was then running the company.

RYAN FITZGERALD:

Of course you did.

[LAUGHTER]

PRIME MINISTER:

To negotiate the Australian edition, the licence to publish Playboy in Australia. So I did that deal for Packer in, you know, ‘78 or thereabouts.

PETER HELLIAR:

Did you negotiate in the Playboy Mansion?

PRIME MINISTER:

No I negotiated in their office building in Chicago. I didn't get to the mansion.

RYAN FITZGERALD:

Oh, that's such a shame.

PRIME MINISTER:

I know, that would have been great.

WALEED ALY:

Thank you very much for paying us a visit. Would you please thank Malcolm Turnbull.

PRIME MINISTER:

It was great to see you.

[ENDS]