Radio interview with Sarah McVeigh – Triple J Hack

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

SARAH McVEIGH:

Prime Minister, thanks for your time.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, great to be with you.

SARAH McVEIGH:

What impact will legalising same-sex marriage have on young gay people?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it will ensure that they have equality before the law. It will mean that they can make a commitment to each other for life, to be life partners and it will be recognised as marriage – whether they are man and a man, a woman and a woman or just as it is now for a man and a woman.

SARAH McVEIGH:

Is it more than just marriage though?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, it is, what it does is I think gives a level of respect. It underlines how committed Australians are to a fair go and respect, mutual respect.

SARAH McVEIGH:

And you’ve talked about how it will let young people know that they’re equal before the law. We already knew that young LGBT people are more likely to be vulnerable. They’re five times more likely to kill themselves. And yesterday on our show we heard from counselling groups who said that they’d had a 40 per cent spike in calls from young gay people during the survey. Was it really worth it when you could’ve just made it happen?

PRIME MINISTER:

Look, I believe this has really been worth it. What an incredible affirmation of Australians commitment to equality.

SARAH McVEIGH:

Now that we have a ‘yes’ vote, when will gay people be able to get married?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it has to be passed through the Parliament.

SARAH McVEIGH:

Will you be able to get it through by Christmas?

PRIME MINISTER:

That is absolutely my goal.

SARAH McVEIGH:

Is it a commitment that you’ve made?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, it is my goal to get it through the Parliament before Christmas.

SARAH McVEIGH:

Is it a guarantee?

PRIME MINISTER:

Hang on – wait a minute – it is a free vote, so the debate will go on. It’s going to start in the Senate. The Senate will complete it and then it will come to the House.

It is my goal and I believe it’s the same commitment from all parties, that we should get this done before Christmas. So that’s the goal.

SARAH McVEIGH:

It doesn’t sound like a guarantee. I’m wondering if you’re willing to cut debate short to get it through in time.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it’s important that everybody has their say. I’m very confident it will be done before Christmas.

SARAH McVEIGH:

Will you keep Parliament running longer if you have to?

PRIME MINISTER:

I’m very confident that we will get it done before Christmas.

SARAH McVEIGH:

But not a guarantee?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well look, it is a matter for the Parliament.

SARAH McVEIGH:

The polls had predicted the majority of Australians wanted same-sex marriage and actually the polls got it bang on.

PRIME MINISTER:

On this occasion - on this occasion. They’ve got it wrong on a few times.

SARAH McVEIGH:

Did you just waste $122 million?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well the Chief Statistician, as you would have heard, said today it’s come in at under $100 million, but it’s still a lot of money.

Look democracy is not cheap, but I think on this occasion it was a very good investment.

This is a massive affirmation and, of course, it means that the 38 per cent or so of Australians who voted ‘no’ had their say.

SARAH McVEIGH:

Will you take their views into consideration and the views of your more conservative colleagues? Today Kevin Andrews said he’d like to see Senator James Paterson’s Bill be argued. He’d like to see that one go through. And he also said that Islamic bakers should be able to refuse to bake cakes for Jewish weddings and vice versa.

PRIME MINISTER:

I absolutely do not agree with Kevin Andrews that bakers should be able to discriminate against people whether it’s on the basis of their religion – I found that an extraordinary proposition – but on their religion or their sexual orientation or gender or race or the colour of their skin or their religion.

Now let me just say this though - the way it will work is that Dean Smith will move, present his Bill. There will be many amendments moved to it and I imagine a number of them will be successful, a number of them won’t be.

But everyone will have the opportunity to have their say and if they want to make a change here or improve it, or correct a defect from their point of view, they’ve got the opportunity to do it.

SARAH McVEIGH:

But this goes to the heart of your problem with the Coalition Government, doesn’t it? That there is this group of politicians within your own party who are willfully trying to stop the Dean Smith Bill from going ahead. They may not-

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, hang on-

SARAH McVEIGH:

They may not want same-sex marriage, they want these religious protections and freedom of speech protections that Senator Paterson has only just announced. How are you going to placate this group of ministers and senators in your government?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well the way it works is that the Bill will be proposed - it is a free vote - and so there will be people in the coalition and indeed people in the Labor side who may take different views on particular amendments.

That’s what a free vote means.

SARAH McVEIGH:

It will be very interesting to see what those amendments are and how many of those more conservative amendments are able to pass. Prime Minister if you do get same-sex marriage through the Parliament by Christmas – when can people book their weddings?

PRIME MINISTER:

That’s a very good question.

SARAH McVEIGH:

Why thank you.

PRIME MINISTER:

I think very, very shortly. Once the Bill is passed, next it has to be signed, agreed to by the Governor-General. That’s a very important final step and then it will law. And I imagine the timing for weddings will be shortly thereafter.

SARAH McVEIGH:

January?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well that would certainly again be my goal - as soon as possible.

SARAH McVEIGH:

Prime Minister, thanks for your time.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you so much.  

[ENDS]