SUNDAY, 10 SEPTEMBER 2017
SUBECT/S: Marriage equality
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well it’s a great pleasure to be here today with so many people who are all here to say, it’s only love that matters. It’s a great pleasure to be able to introduce our Labor leader, Bill Shorten, who has led this argument in our Parliament, saying that it should be the Parliament that decides this very simple question – should all Australians be equal before the law? If you believe the answer to this is yes, then people should vote yes in this postal vote.
I’ll be voting yes in the postal vote, because I know that across Australia today there are young people wondering whether the fact that they’re same-sex attracted is okay. They are getting all sorts of conflicting messages, from their family perhaps, from their school friends, from their community. And this debate right now, where we are asking the question, is it okay to be in a same-sex relationship, is sending so many negative messages to those young people.
A lot of people are saying that they are voting yes for their son or their daughter, their brother, their sister, their uncle, their cousin. I’m voting yes for that 17-year-old somewhere, who is hearing all those negative messages. And I’m voting yes to say to that young person, you are okay just the way you are. Who you love is just fine. And I’m also voting yes for myself. Because I want to live in the sort of country where the majority votes for the rights of the minority. I want to live in the sort of country whereby word and deed we show that we love and respect every individual Australian for who they are.
It’s such a pleasure to be able to introduce Bill Shorten, because Bill has said, from day one as leader of the Labor Party, that he supports marriage equality. If Bill were already Prime Minister, this would already be done. We’ve been wasting years, and now we are about to waste $122 million. We say, let’s get this done. And Bill Shorten says, let’s get this done.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good afternoon everybody. I know we have a rally to get on with in a moment, and what a fantastic outpouring for marriage equality and for love Sydney as shown. Sydney is leading the way. The atmosphere is simply fantastic.
I want to thank Tanya Plibersek in particular for all the work she has done. She has been a champion of marriage equality for her whole time in Parliament. And I just want to say to all Australians, today is not a matter for party politics. There are people from – there is a rainbow coalition of politics here today. You’ve got people not only from the Labor Party, but from parts of the Liberal Party, the Greens and other parties. Today is not about partisan politics. Today is about every Australian. Today is about all Australians coming out and saying, for goodness sake Australia, let’s just make marriage equality a reality. Today is about saying to LGBTIQ Australians, you do not have to change, our laws have to change.
And this last mountain we have to climb, this $122 million delaying tactic by the opponents of marriage equality, this is one last mountain to climb. And I am sure, feeling the goodwill, the support for LGBTI Australians, we’ve got one last mountain to climb before we make marriage equality a reality, let’s climb it together today. This is a fantastic day.
JOURNALIST: Do you support the Prime Minister’s comments today, and his appearance to support the Yes campaign?
SHORTEN: I have no doubt that Malcolm and Lucy will vote yes in the postal survey, just as I have no doubt that millions of Australians will. I freely admit though, that the fact that we are requiring gay Australians, LGBTI Australians to have to go through a different law-making process to the rest of Australians, to me that is unfair. And I know the disappointment that the campaigners felt with the High Court decision. I just want to say to all of those who were disappointed with the High Court’s decision, turn your disappointment into determination – determination to win.
We have a chance to not only make marriage equality a reality in this country, we have a chance for Australia to send a message to the rest of the world that Australia is a modern country. We are a country which believes that all people are equal. For me, this is about family values. It’s about valuing all families equally.
JOURNALIST: What about the fact though he’s come out so strongly in support of the Yes campaign? Do you give him credit for that?
SHORTEN: Absolutely. I give credit to the Prime Minister for supporting marriage equality. But I give credit, as I did in my opening, to all of the political operatives and all the political parties who are supporting this. But you know who I give most credit to in terms of marriage equality? LGBTI Australians who for too many years, have had to put up with second-class status when it comes to marriage. I give credit to all Australians here – brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, neighbours and colleagues. If we win this survey, it won’t be because of a particular politician or politicians, it will be because Australia has said it’s time to make marriage equality a reality. I’m very optimistic, and today only improves my sense of possibility.
JOURNALIST: When this goes to a parliamentary vote, can you be sure that all the Labor politicians will be voting yes?
SHORTEN: I’m reasonably sure that 97 per cent at least of Labor Party politicians will be voting yes. But I’m absolutely sure, and I can make one other comment – if the survey, if for whatever reason, is defeated, if I’m elected Prime Minister, Tanya and I will introduce legislation for marriage equality within our first 100 days. And 100 per cent of Labor Party politicians will vote to make marriage equality a reality.
JOURNALIST: If Labor is elected at the next election, what will your government do to help stamp out homophobia and improve the mental health of LGBTIQ people, especially its younger community members?
SHORTEN: We will make sure we have in place anti-bullying programs. We will make sure that either now, or at the time we get elected, marriage equality is a reality. We accept that discrimination is real. And we will put the resources in to help people deal with the unnecessary discrimination and hate which too many LGBTI Australians experience.
I’m conscious the rally is starting soon.
JOURNALIST: The Prime Minister said if there is a yes result, that the legislation will sail through the Parliament. Are you confident that it will be fait accompli if that’s the case?
SHORTEN: I’m confident it will sail through the Parliament. But I just say, the best way to make sure that the legislation sails through the Parliament – vote yes in the survey, which you’ll start getting from Wednesday in the mail. That’s how we make it happen.