Bill's Transcripts

Sunrise - Marriage equality






SUBJECT/S: Marriage equality


NATALIE BARR: The Federal Opposition's marriage equality bill will be introduced to Parliament today. If it is passed, the terms 'husband and wife' would be replaced with 'partner'. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten joins me now from Canberra, morning to you. What else will the bill recognise?


BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: It's actually a pretty small bill, or proposed changes to the Marriage Act. We think the time’s right for marriage equality, so it will allow religions or priests who don't want to consecrate same-sex marriages – they still won't have to consecrate same-sex marriages. But what it will do is it will say that rather than a definition of a husband and a wife, it will allow marriage between two people. 20 different countries around the world, including most recently Ireland, have voted to have marriage equality. I think a lot of Australians are just saying well when will Australia catch up with the times?


BARR: So if, when both sides of politics working on another bipartisan bill, and if so why are you doing this which probably won't pass anyway?


SHORTEN: Well first of all, we’ve been proposing this bill for 14 months and we couldn't get anyone from the Liberal Party to co-sponsor it. What this is about is that the Labor Party has a free vote on marriage equality. We would like Tony Abbott to give his Liberal MPs a free vote. If there’s a free vote in the Parliament, what will happen is that marriage equality will pass into law. What’s triggered Labor is the Irish referendum, I mean I've voted for it in the past and I’ve spoken about it well before the Irish referendum but didn't many Australians wake up on the Sunday morning after the Irish referendum and say well, if they can do it, why can't we?


BARR: But if you’re already working on this bipartisan bill, why didn't you wait for that which will probably pass by Christmas anyway?


SHORTEN: There is a little bit of retrofitting the logic there. There was no bill in the Parliament and what more is Tony Abbott said on the Sunday after the Irish referendum that he would have a discussion with his MPs once there was a bill in the Parliament. I think we would have been negligent to all those families who support marriage equality to ignore what happened and said well, this is inevitable. There is not a lot of that is inevitable in politics unless you show leadership. Other countries have passed Australia by. So it's not just a matter of families, it’s not just a matter of letting people marry the people that they love. I think when many other countries in the world have gone ahead of us, I think it is the right time for Australia, just to allow marriage equality. In 2015, having marriage equality is not I think the radical step which some parliamentarians have been afraid that it is in the past.


BARR: Okay, thanks very much Mr Shorten for joining us this morning.


SHORTEN: Thanks.