From Canberra, good morning Prime Minister, thank you for joining us this morning.
Great to be with you Eddie, what a great day.
Yeah, tell us about what it was like. An historic occasion in the Parliament yesterday and to be the Prime Minister of Australia when this historic Act was passed?
Well Eddie, it was a moment of great joy. Just such a wonderful day after so many years, to finally end the last discrimination against gay people. To put our arms around same-sex couples and say: “We love you, we respect you, now if you want to get married, you can get married,” you know, “we respect your relationship and your commitment.”
The good thing about it was that – look, I’m very proud to be the Prime Minister when this has happened. I’m the first Prime Minister to consistently support legalising same-sex marriage. Labor was in for six years and did nothing about it. So it’s good, I’m very proud of that. But you know, this belongs to all Australians. Every Australian had their say. We gave every Australian their say in the marriage survey and 62 per cent voted ‘yes’.
That message came back to Canberra and it said: “Come on, get on with it, get it done,” and that’s what we’ve done.
Prime Minister, happened to be in Canberra yesterday and in the halls there was a great sense of joy around, lots of people there for an historic moment. Took some time, there was a few amendments late. Was there any nervousness from you that perhaps this wouldn’t get through before the final sitting? Or were you always confident you’d get it over the line?
I was very confident it would all get done this week, but it was a free vote as you know. So people were entitled to move whatever amendment, at least from our side, whatever amendment they liked and speak for as long as they liked. Nobody was gagged, debate wasn’t limited in any way.
So everyone had their say. Every Australian had their say in the postal survey and every parliamentarian had their say. The result was an overwhelming ‘yes’ vote.
I mean, you look at that picture of the House of Representatives with everybody voting for the Bill, everyone voting for marriage equality except four people on the other side. That is an overwhelming majority.
Prime Minister, congratulations and congratulations to all the activists and LGBTQI people over the years who have worked so hard to get us to this point and have sacrificed so much to get us to this point, who have made this thing very much possible. Does it give you some confidence that for a while, there’s been members of your own Party and members of the Government who have suggested Australia isn’t as progressive and open as it’s proved itself to be via the postal vote and via this vote in the Parliament. Does it give you some optimism going into 2018, that perhaps Australia can start moving forward in a more progressive way again?
Look we are a very progressive nation but above all, we are also a nation of a fair go. Australians naturally, their instinct is to say: “Well, you get on and lead your life as you wish.” You know, we respect each other.
We read in the media about how intolerant we are and constantly saying what our deficiencies are.
We were told that the postal survey would be a disaster, that young people wouldn’t be able to find where a letterbox was, that there would be a very low turnout. We got an 80 per cent turnout. You know in a general election, where you get fined a hundred bucks if you don’t vote, it’s only about a 91 per cent turnout. So this was massive, young people voted in droves, very high participation.
It defied every single gloomy forecast of Australians being apathetic and intolerant and so forth. Swept aside, in a great national statement of love and respect and equality.
It was a great Australia statement, about who we are, what we believe in and that fair go that defines us.
Prime Minister, there’s been a lot of talk about this Bill and it’s now through and done. Thank goodness that’s off the plate.
The citizenship thing has been a disaster for everybody, I’m sure for you as well because of the waste of time and now the various by-elections and the ALP all falling over themselves to give you an early Christmas present. So something for you on the way through.
But if you could just say goodbye to our listeners for season 2017, Prime Minister? Can you give us some hope for 2018 and some of the things that you want to get over the line as our leader?
Well thank you Eddie, firstly a very, very Happy Christmas to you, and all your listeners.
2018 is going to be a big year, it’s the year where we will be delivering the policies that put more money into the pockets of hardworking Australian families and businesses.
You’ll see more of the business tax cuts come through, which are delivering the huge progress in jobs. You know, nearly a thousand jobs a day created over the last year. Higher levels of investment, that’s being driven by our pro-business policies and as you know we’re determined to do more on personal income tax.
Obviously with energy, soaring energy prices are a huge burden on families and businesses. With our National Energy Guarantee we’ve finally brought together a policy that combines affordability, reliability and meeting our emissions reductions targets.
We’ve got childcare reforms, enabling more people to get the balance right between work and family. More people to stay in the workforce and of course, we’ve got our Gonski 2.0 schools policy comes out; for the first time, you know national, consistent, transparent, needs-based funding.
And there’s a lot more. We’ve done a huge amount, we’ve got more to do and 2018 is going to see a year where we’re focused on ensuring we’re backing those hardworking Australian families and businesses. All of your listeners.
Good on you Prime Minister, thank you for joining us so consistently through the course of the year. We really appreciate you taking the time to come onto Triple M to speak to us whenever there’s been a key issue and yesterday was an historic day in our history. Thank you very much.
It sure was.
Thanks a lot Eddie, thanks guys.