Bill's Transcripts

Sky News- Marriage equality






SUBJECT/S: Marriage equality


KIERAN GILBERT: With me now is the Labor leader Bill Shorten, Mr Shorten, thank you for your time this morning. How do you feel about the prospects of your bill, are you conceding that this is very unlikely to pass the Parliament this time around?


BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: I’m very positive and optimistic that marriage equality will become a reality in Australia in 2015. You know, I look back two Sunday mornings ago when I woke up and like millions of Australians found out that the Irish voted in a referendum two to one for marriage equality, and I thought this is the right time for us to again to propose marriage equality in the Australian Parliament. It would be negligent if we just sat by and watched Australia fall further behind.


GILBERT: But this time, you say in 2015, but I guess do you see this as a stepping stone towards a final resolution to this later in the year?


SHORTEN: Absolutely I do. I mean the arguments against marriage equality are running a bit thin these days, aren’t they? We believe in bipartisanship – Tanya Plibersek, my deputy, has been proposing to the Coalition MPs, 14 months ago, that we have a bill on marriage equality – but once the Irish referendum came around, I thought why are we delaying? So I’m optimistic that if Tony Abbott allows a free vote of his MPs, marriage equality will be an overdue step forward which will occur in 2015.


GILBERT: But it probably won’t happen on this particular bill, there will have to be a multi-party approach later in the year.


SHORTEN: We’ve offered a multi-party approach for the last 14 months.




SHORTEN: And we offer it again today, we offered it yesterday and we’ll keep offering it. But in the meantime the truth is it’s not the multi-party approach which is the stumbling block because everyone knows that we’ll do that. The real stumbling block is a lack of a free vote in the Liberal and National Party rooms.


GILBERT: I know you’ve got a busy morning, but finally what’s your message to the Australians – and there’s still a fair chunk of Australians who remain opposed to same sex marriage – what’s your message to them as you move this bill this morning?


SHORTEN: What I say is that if your priest doesn’t want to consecrate a same-sex marriage, in your church or your mosque or you synagogue, you still won’t have to. This bill is not telling religion how to practise religion, it’s just saying lets respect all people, all Australians, and allow marriage equality, and we’ll keep going and what we need is a free vote from the Liberal Party. It’s an exciting day and I think finally Australia can step up and be the nation that we want to see in the mirror and our laws describe the truth of life in 2015.

Mr Shorten, appreciate your time.


SHORTEN: Thank you.