DOORSTOP – POOL CAMERA
FRIDAY, 17 NOVEMBER 2017
SUBJECT/S: Marriage equality; Christopher Pyne; New Zealand settlement for refugees
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, a question from Canberra. If New Zealand takes the Manus Island refugees, what impact do you think that might have on New Zealand?
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: If New Zealand wants to take the people from Manus Island, Australia shouldn't get in the way, they should be allowed to go. It's a solution. I do not know why Australia wants to get in the way. If New Zealand wants to take the people from Manus Island, Australia shouldn't get in the way.
JOURNALIST: You don't think it will strain relations at all?
SHORTEN: No, I don't at all. I actually think New Zealand, in good faith, is offering to take these people, and I think that if New Zealand, in good faith, wants to take these people from Manus Island, then Australia should not get in the way.
JOURNALIST: Because we need a solution don't we?
SHORTEN: We need a solution, and if New Zealand wants to take these people from Manus Island, Australia should not get in the way.
JOURNALIST: Sam-sex marriage, would Labor be open to waiting until the new year to legislate for religious protections?
SHORTEN: I think we need to get on with marriage equality. The $120 million survey has told us what we already knew: that Australia is ready for marriage equality. Now we've had the survey, I think it would be tremendously insulting to Australians, and highlight a waste of $120 million, if we don't legislate for marriage equality in the remaining two weeks of Parliament.
This issue has been around the place for many years. Let's just get on and do it, because there's many other issues that we need to get into. We need to be talking about penalty rates, banking royal commission, we need to be talking about young people being able to afford their first home, we need to talk about out of control energy prices. We've had enough discussion on marriage equality, let's just do it right, do it once, and let's get on with it.
JOURNALIST: Religious protections though, now or next year?
SHORTEN: In terms of religious freedom, people should have a right to religious freedom in this country. But voting for marriage equality doesn't undermine religious freedom at all. Full stop.
JOURNALIST: Christopher Pyne hack, should we leave it at that or does further action need to be taken?
SHORTEN: I feel for Christopher Pyne, it's highly embarrassing. I've spoken to the Government, they have certainly reassured me that there's no national security implication. If there was, the Government would need to explain it, but they've reassured me about that. And I think that Senator Bernadi, who famously doesn't like Christopher Pyne, I think that issue shouldn't cloud the rest of the matter.
JOURANLIST: So you don't agree with Bernadi's push to -
SHORTEN: No I spoke to the Government overnight. I feel for Christopher Pyne, it's embarrassing for him and his family. The Government has made it very clear that there's not a national security implication. If there was, it should be investigated, but in this case the Government has said there is not. So I think Senator Bernadi's fight with Mr Pyne shouldn't take up the time of Parliament.
JOURNALIST: And again, just on same-sex marriage. Do you agree there should be religious exceptions involved, that it should be an option, and should we get it done now or later?
SHORTEN: Let's get marriage equality done now. That's what the Australian people expect of the Parliament. In terms of religious freedom, it's an important point, but marriage equality does not compromise religious freedom, the ability of churches to decide who gets married in their church, or synagogue or mosque.
And by the way, the nation now needs to move on. People have voted no, I can respect that, I'm pleased that the yes vote got up. The nation now needs to move on/ Parliament needs to do its job, that's what we're paid to do, and there are a lot of other big issues Australians want us to address. Housing affordability, energy prices, making sure we do something about flat wages in this country which see people falling behind.
JOURNALIST: And how quickly can we get it done?
SHORTEN: I believe that with some good will from the Parliament, we can resolve marriage equality in the remaining two weeks of Parliament, then we can get onto other matters.
JOURNALIST: Thanks very much.
SHORTEN: Good on you.