Bill's Transcripts

2 Day FM - Marriage equality






SUBJECT/S: Marriage equality


DAN:  We were talking about it last week when it was announced, but the Opposition have brought a bill before the Parliament to hopefully, finally, get marriage equality in Australia. And to talk about the marriage equality bill we’ve got on the line marriage equality Bill Shorten!




MAZ: How are you today Bill?


SHORTEN: I’m good, I’m pretty motivated today because again we’re debating marriage equality, which is long overdue in this country.


DAN: Absolutely. Do you feel like you’re staring down the barrel of one of the most important moments in your political career? Not to put the pressure on.


SHORTEN: It is really important as a matter of fact – I do feel the moment. I think I’m like most Australians, we woke up two Sundays ago after hearing the news overnight of the Irish referendum, and I thought if the Irish can vote 2-1 in favour of marriage equality, why can’t we? Now I’ve supported marriage equality for years but I think the time is well and truly passed that we should stop denying people in committed relationships – some Australians in committed relationships – the opportunity to get married.


DAN: We’re huge fans of that viewpoint in this room Bill, but I’ve got to ask, why didn’t you do this when, you know, we were up against Tony Abbott in the election? Why didn’t it happen back then – and you could run for it and make that your platform?


SHORTEN: I did vote for it back in 2012. I wasn’t the leader then -


DAN: Yeah I know -


SHORTEN: And I’m proud of the fact that as the leader of one of the two major political parties in the country I’m the first one to put this into the Parliament and vote for it. The actual bill we’ve got, it’s not the longest proposed changes we’ve ever seen, it just says that instead of saying that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, it’s the union of two people. We’ll make sure the churches and synagogues and mosques don’t have to consecrate a same-sex wedding if they don’t want to, if it’s not according to their religious faiths. But we should show respect not just to religious faiths, but to all Australians.


MAZ: Bill are you feeling quietly confident at this stage of today about how this is going to play out?


SHORTEN: It won’t get voted on today, I am quietly confident that marriage equality will be a reality in 2015. There’s one obstacle – I just need Tony Abbott to let the Liberal Party, because currently they have more members of Parliament than we do – to have a free vote. Labor has a free vote, most Labor MPs support it. If Tony Abbott would just let the Liberal Party of Australia to have a free vote on marriage equality, I’m sure there’s enough people in the Parliament who would vote for it.


DAN: Have you spoken to Liberal people who have said ‘if Tony Abbott says free vote, we’re on your side’?


SHORTEN: Yes, I’m sure the votes are there.


MAZ: Wow.


SHORTEN: And there’s a lot of other people who’ve been campaigning for a long time on this, I’m just one of many who are pushing this. It does make sense, doesn’t it? And the community I think can live with it. Our laws should speak to who we are as a people, our laws should allow us to explain to our kids what we believe, or to strangers what Australians think.


DAN: Well it’s your move Tony, I guess.


MAZ: That’s it. Bill Shorten, thank you so much for joining us this morning, and best of luck for today and how this plays out.


SHORTEN: Yeah I’m really – let’s go back to where we started, I think it’s exciting. I think we can do this.


DAN: There he is, Bill Shorten, Opposition Leader. Today a very very important day.