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

Transcript
08 Dec 2017
Prime Minister
Same sex marriage
E&OE

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Joining us is the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull from Canberra. Good morning Prime Minister, welcome.

PRIME MINISTER:

Good morning Sam.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Now, an historic moment, an historic moment.

PRIME MINISTER:

Wow, wasn’t it!

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

A long-time coming. I can see that you’re genuinely happy about this, professionally and personally.

PRIME MINISTER:

I am so happy. This is such a great day. As I said yesterday, it’s a great day for love, for equality, for respect.

It is a big Australian hug for all same-sex couples, saying: “We love, we respect you. Now go out there and get married,” and they can do that in early January.

The law will be signed by the Governor-General today and then people will be able to give notice of their marriages, of their pending marriages, 30 days notice. So they will be able to get married in the second week of January.

DAVID KOCH:

Prime Minister, this has taken years and years and years. Politicians were so nervous about it, they saw it as being so controversial, but it passed in a breeze. You know, the postal vote was overwhelming and the vote in the Parliament was overwhelming. What were we all worried about?

PRIME MINISTER:

It’s a good question, I mean I am the first Prime Minister of Australia to be committed to legalising same-sex marriage.

The Labor Party were in government for six years and both PM Rudd and Gillard said they were opposed to it and obviously Tony Abbott was. But I think the thing that was the big game changer here, Kochie, was the postal survey.

You know I promised at the last election to give everyone their say.

Labor did everything they could to stop that happening, as you know.

We found a way to do that without legislation and as you said, 62 per cent voted ‘yes’, 80 per cent participation rate. The Australian people said to us here in Parliament: “Come on, get on with it, get it done”.

DAVID KOCH:

So out of touch.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

What do you honestly think when you look at these pictures from overnight PM, of the Labor Party? Bill Shorten there, all clinking champagne glasses. Does it feel a little bit, I guess a little red hen-ish?

You did all the work and Labor seems to be trying to claim all the credit here? Does it annoy you a bit?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, you talk about the blame game in politics, people try to blame someone else. There is also the taking credit for other peoples work.

Look, the Labor Party voted for it and that was good, but they did everything possible to stop it happening. They did everything possible to stop people having their say as you know. That was just plain, petty politics.

DAVID KOCH:

Yep.

PRIME MINISTER:

But look, they had six years in government and they did nothing about it.

This is a Liberal National Government, I’m a Liberal Prime Minister and we have made it happen but it belongs to everybody. It belongs to the whole Parliament and above all, to the whole country.

You see, what we were able to do was give everyone a say and 62 per cent voted ‘yes’. This is a democracy; 62 per cent say ‘yes’, ‘yes’ is the answer.

DAVID KOCH:

Does this give you more confidence to be your own man? Because it seems in the last year or two you have been scared of your conservatives. This issue in particular shows how out of touch your conservatives are within the party. Are you just going to ignore them now or steamroll them?

PRIME MINISTER:

Look, Kochie that’s the language of commentary.

DAVID KOCH:

But it’s true.

PRIME MINISTER:

I run a very respectful – no well Kochie it's actually not.

DAVID KOCH:

Really?

PRIME MINISTER:

I run a very traditional Cabinet Government, we’ve got a broad church in the Liberal Party and the National Party. I respect all of my colleagues and we make decisions collectively. You know, if you look at how much we have got done -

DAVID KOCH:

But they’re out of touch.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, look you can make whatever commentary you like. But I tell you, I respect every single voter who voted - every single Australian – but everyone who voted. I respect the 5 million who voted ‘no’ just as much as I respect the 8 million who voted ‘yes’. But you know, 8 million beats 5 million, it’s a democracy.

SAM ARMYTAGE:

5 million people are still a fair chunk of people, 5 million people isn’t it - yes?

PRIME MINISTER:

It is, of course it is. It's you know 38 per cent of those who voted and their concerns about protecting, many of their concerns about protecting religious freedoms are reflected in the legislation and were debated in Parliament.

I am quite satisfied that this change will not put religious freedoms at risk and it certainly doesn’t put traditional marriage at risk.

Two gay people getting married is not going to put Lucy and my nearly 38-year-old marriage under threat, I can assure you. People who think that gay people making a commitment is a threat to marriage, fail to recognise that the real threat is lack of commitment.

So more commitment, more marriage, is good.

SAM ARMYTAGE:

There you go, that’s almost Peter Costello-ish, isn’t it you know?

“Have some children for the country”, you’ll be saying next.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I think commitment is the key.

SAM ARMYTAGE:

Yes, that’s lovely. Good Christmas message.

PRIME MINISTER:

Sorry, go on Sam – yes Happy Christmas!

SAM ARMYTAGE:

Now let's talk about citizenship. As much as you probably don't want to talk about it, this is going to drag into 2018. Australians are sick of this. Why not send everybody under a cloud here, to the High Court?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, there is nobody on my side of the house that is ‘under a cloud’, as you say.

What the Labor Party has got - having said that their vetting system was perfect and they had no issues - when we were open, when Barnaby Joyce referred himself and went to the High Court, lost, went to a by-election, won the by-election and he’s back. John Alexander concluded he couldn't satisfy himself of what he understood, ie that he wasn’t a dual citizen, he couldn’t satisfy himself of that, so he resigns, going to a by-election.

What has Labor done? They’ve got people, they’ve got two people in the House of Representatives, who are British citizens right now.

They have got a number of others who were British citizens at the time they nominated. They’ve referred one of their former British citizens, Katy Gallagher, the senator, to the High Court, but they won’t refer anyone in the House.

But what they demanded was that we refer people on our side, when there is no basis for saying that they are dual citizens. Look, it really is just Labor trying to distract. 

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: 

Can't you force them? Can you force them to send people?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, basically the reality is at the moment, because John Alexander is not there, with our votes versus Labor and the independents it is a tie.

But look, you know what? It’ll get sorted out because the Katy Gallagher case will go to the High Court. Her facts are virtually identical to the Labor people in the House. If she wins then they will be OK other than Feeney who has been referred already. If she loses then they will all have to resign.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay.

PRIME MINISTER:

So I think the issue is going to be resolved.

SAMATHA ARMYTAGE:

We have to go but we know you had drinks at the Lodge last night for journalists and Kochie and my invitation may have been lost in the mail, but that’s okay, there’s still next year.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well there was nothing, I got there about half an hour after everybody else and there was virtually nothing left to drink. The journalists must have been so thirsty.

[Laughter]

DAVID KOCH:

So it was a typical end of year drinks with the media, excellent.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

We hope you’re felling well this morning, Merry Christmas if we don’t see you before.

DAVID KOCH:

Thanks for turning up.

PRIME MINISTER:

Merry Christmas to you and all of your viewers. Thank you.

[ENDS]