Television interview – The Project, Ten

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

CARRIE BICKMORE:

He voted 'yes' and he says that he is determined to change Australia's marriage laws by Christmas this year. Please welcome Malcolm Turnbull. Welcome, Prime Minister. A great day. Can we start ordering cakes from the baker and booking function centres for same-sex weddings by Christmas, yes?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think you can certainly start planning your wedding.

Look, this is such a joyful day.

The Australian people have voted overwhelmingly for marriage equality. They have voted for love. They voted for fairness. They voted for commitment. They voted for respect. They have put their arms around same-sex couples and said we respect you, we love you and your committed relationship will be recognised in law as equal to ours.

This is a historic day.

CARRIE BICKMORE:

By Christmas?

PRIME MINISTER:

I am very confident it will all be done by Christmas. As fascinating as the subject of same-sex marriage is, I don't think for a moment the Parliament will be debating it on Christmas Eve. It will all get done before Christmas, but it is a free vote. There will be lots of amendments moved. Members will be able to vote, as they wish, regardless of what their parties tell them.

It will be Parliament at its best and I think you will see some great speeches given, some great debates and, at the end, the people's will, as expressed in the survey, will be delivered and carried out.

GRETEL KILLEEN:

Yes, but there are already some rumblings about how that will be modified in terms of the legislation. Is the big challenge in there for you now, Prime Minister, that you have got to negotiate with your own party to get this through palatably?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, this is a free vote so every member on my side of politics and on the Labor side for that matter is free to vote as they wish.

The amendments will be proposed by individual members and senators. Of course, it is starting in the Senate tomorrow, as you know. The Senate will vote on those amendments. Some will get up. Many won't. But at the end of the day we will have a bill that will deliver on the instructions the Australian people have given us to change the law to allow same-sex couples to marry. That is our job. It is over to us now.

WALEED ALY:

We heard from Kevin Andrews in our package there talking about some complicated arrangement between Muslims and Jews and cakes which I found a bit difficult to follow. And I think I might have seen you off camera shaking your head.

PRIME MINISTER:

Waleed, even more difficult to agree with, I hope.

WALEED ALY:

Right, so I’m interested in that. How are you planning on managing that? Because there’s some pretty radical stuff coming out of the far reaches of your party. Do you have conversations with them? Do you try to negotiate this in some way? Maybe tell them to pipe down?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well every member is entitled to, members are entitled to move such amendments as they wish, right? That’s the whole point of this - it’s a free vote.

But the sort of examples that you were referring to a moment ago, I don't think they will see any part of the debate here and if they were proposed, I don't think they would have any prospect of support.

PETER HELIAR:

He also said that gay bakers may be able to refuse heterosexual customers in relation to weddings. Surely that gay baker would be out of business by now? But if a gay baker was to sell a heterosexual a wedding cake, how much GST would be paid on that cake?

[Laughter]

PRIME MINISTER:

That’s very good. Do I get a chance to phone a friend? I’ve got to ask John Hewson.

[Laughter]

CARRIE BICKMORE:

Will you and Lucy be celebrating tonight?

PRIME MINISTER:

We are! Lucy is down in Canberra. She is as thrilled as I am. We have been long-term supporters of marriage equality. And as you know, we supported the 'yes' case of course. We campaigned for it. We are delighted that the Australian people have, in overwhelming numbers, supported marriage equality. It’s fair, it’s just and now it is time for us in Parliament to get it done.

CARRIE BICKMORE:

Yep, it’s over to you to get it done, Prime Minister. Thanks for your time tonight.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you.

[ENDS]