Television interview with Samantha Armytage and David Koch – Sunrise, Seven Network

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

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Joining us now from Canberra is the Prime Minister, Malcom Turnbull. Prime Minister, good morning.

PRIME MINISTER:

Good morning.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Were you surprised by the result? It was quite unifying for the country yesterday, wasn't it?

PRIME MINISTER:

It was. It was a massive statement of respect. It was saying ‘yes’ to marriage equality, ‘yes’ to love, ‘yes’ to commitment, ‘yes’ to a fair go.

A huge majority of Australians put their arms around same-sex couples and said, "We respect you, we love you, your relationship will be treated by the law as a marriage just as ours has been”. So it’s a big day, a really big uniting day.

DAVID KOCH:

Now we got to get it done. Can you guarantee same-sex marriage will be legalised before Christmas?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well Kochie, it’s a free vote and the debate is starting in the Senate this morning. So we're getting onto the job immediately.

I think it’s a fascinating subject but I don't think anyone wants to be debating it on Christmas Eve, so it’ll get done before Christmas.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

So you do think it can go through by Christmas?

PRIME MINISTER:

Sure, absolutely.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

We could see gay couples walking in the aisle by January?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, yes. I assume there’ll be some sort of administrative things to be done after the law is passed but in terms of Parliament's work, I am very, very confident it will be completed before Christmas.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay.

PRIME MINISTER:

I’ll tell you what’s going to happen very quickly. It’ll be debated today, then the Senate will rise. They’ll come back on the 27th, they’ll complete the debate in that week and then the following week it comes down to the House of Reps and we will debate it and conclude there. That’s where the debate will conclude. There may be some other amendments that have to go back to the Senate but believe me, it’ll get done.

Everyone wants to get home for Christmas, they don't want to be debating same-sex marriage here on Christmas Eve.

DAVID KOCH:

The danger is that your conservatives like Tony Abbott are going to bog this down in all the detail, the negotiation about religious protections, protecting bakers and florists and all that sort of stuff. What do you say them to them this morning? What do you say to them, what do you say to Tony Abbott?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, the answer for Tony Abbott is really the one he gave himself, that he respects the outcome of the postal survey. The 75 per cent ‘yes’ vote in his own electorate and of course 61.6 per cent across the nation.

You see it’s a free vote Kochie, so members are not being bound by party discipline here. There will be a lot of amendments moved, some of them will get up, most of probably won’t. But it will be up to members and you’ll see Labor members voting different ways on amendments and Liberal members voting different ways on amendments. It’ll be Parliament at its best, people will be voting in accordance with their conscience. But believe me, it’ll get done.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

You’re a Sydney boy originally. Do you, are you concerned…

PRIME MINISTER:

Originally and I still am.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Yes well, I mean you know when I say ‘boy’, originally.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well thank you, thank you.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Are you concerned by the response from Western Sydney? That was the overwhelming ‘no’ vote in the country.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well look, I think it’s a big country. 150 electorates; 133 – that’s nearly 90 per cent - voted ‘yes’ – so let’s not lose sight of the fact this was a massive ‘yes’ vote.

You’ve got in Western Sydney, in some parts of Western Sydney, you’ve got very diverse cultural communities in in some of those seats. You’ve got a very big Muslim community who are very, who are very conservative on issues like this and very little support for same-sex marriage.

But look, that’s fine. It’s a free country. That’s why I wanted to give everyone their say. Everybody had their say. I am committed to respecting the views of every Australian.

So we said to every Australian, “What you think? Do you think the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry, yes or no?"  Everyone had their say, 80 per cent took up the opportunity and just under 62 per cent voted ‘yes’.

So it’s a democracy. That’s a ‘yes’, that’s a big ‘yes’.

DAVID KOCH:

Just while we have got you, this tragic development overnight, the Australian diplomat who has fallen to his death while celebrating the same-sex marriage survey in New York. Have you got any more details about that?

PRIME MINISTER:

I don't, Kochie. It really is a tragedy. Our hearts go out to his family, but I can’t provide any more details at this stage. It is a shocking tragedy, a young life lost.

DAVID KOCH:

Yes.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Horrible news from New York. Back to some good news for Australia last night, the Socceroos are through to the World Cup.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes!

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

They will go to Russia next year. 3-1 over Honduras. Did you manage to catch any of the match?

PRIME MINISTER:

It was nearly 3-nil. I saw the second half of the second half and it was fantastic and what a hat-trick from Mile.

DAVID KOCH:

Absolutely. A great morning for Australia. Wearing the green and gold on your tie, which is sensational. Prime Minister, thank you for joining us. And glad you’re guaranteeing it’s all going to be legalised by Christmas.

PRIME MINISTER:

We’ll get there, we’ll get there. Thanks Kochie.

[ENDS]