Subjects: Marriage equality, citizenship.
DEB KNIGHT: Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us now. Good morning to you fellows.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.
KNIGHT: Christopher, just incredible scenes. Have you ever seen anything like it?
PYNE: No, I haven’t actually Deb and that is saying something because I have been in Parliament for 24 years. I have seen some very happy days, days with the Apology, for example, to the Stolen Generation, but I have never seen such an outpouring of joy as I saw in the Chamber yesterday and I am not surprised. It was a very historic day to be part of a Chamber where 146 people sat on one side of the Chamber and four sat in the other to usher in marriage equality in this country is a very, very exciting time for Australia.
KNIGHT: And Anthony isn’t it amazing what you pollies can get done when you stop fighting and you work together and you achieve something. Why can’t you do it more often?
ALBANESE: Look, absolutely and we should. This was the Parliament at its best. I do think there have been two great days in this Parliament in my 21 years. The apology was the first, that I will never forget, and I will never forget last night, I’ve got to say last night at the celebrations where Magda was as well …
KNIGHT: You were there I am sure?
ALBANESE: She was on earlier. I certainly was. I think that Penny Wong was the happiest I have ever seen any individual in my life and it was just such a great thing to see the joy that was there in the galleries. The patience that they showed I have got to say, in sitting there all day, being very disciplined was remarkable and it was just a great thing. This now will unite the nation and it just says we are a country that accepts people, that is diverse, that it stronger because of it.
KNIGHT: Now Christopher this change is something that the country wanted but is it what the PM needed. How crucial was this to shore up Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership?
PYNE: Well we’ve ended the year on a very, very positive note Deb because we said we would have a vote of the Australian people. A lot of people voted against it, didn’t want to have the plebiscite. But it went ahead because of Malcolm Turnbull. Eighty percent of people voted in it, 62 per cent wanted marriage equality. Now Malcolm Turnbull has achieved it. So we have finished the year on a very positive note by actually showing that we can get on with the job whether it is creating 371,000 jobs in the last 12 months …
ALBANESE: Oh, today is not the day for talking points Christopher.
PYNE: … or whether it is a major social change like marriage equality. We are showing that the Turnbull Government can get things done and is getting things done.
KNIGHT: And Albo have you had any requests yet to DJ any gay weddings?
PYNE: He will.
ALBANESE: They are queueing up in my electorate I’ve got to say It will be a great thing for the economy as well.
ALBANESE: Lots of activity will occur, both domestic weddings but also Australia will be a great destination. And I think next year is the 40th celebration of Mardi Gras. It’s important to remember that those 78ers didn’t march getting cheered down the street. They marched into a police line, were arrested. And my thoughts go to those courageous people – men and women – who really stood up for their civil rights at a time where it was really, really tough.
KNIGHT: Yes, well said.
PYNE: We have come a long way.
ALBANESE: This was unfinished business. Christopher did predict of course earlier this year, got in a bit of strife in his party for predicting, that it would happen sooner rather than later. He played an important role. So did so many people in the Parliament. But most importantly the people who played a role were those out there in the community. Well done.
KNIGHT: Good to see credit is being given where credit is due. And just quickly, one issue though where there is absolutely no co-operation of course is the ongoing citizenship fiasco. Christopher, why not refer anyone with any question mark over them to the High Court and let that independent umpire sort it this out once and for all?
PYNE: Well Deb, we will refer anyone who has a cloud over their citizenship. The people who are in that position right now are the four Labor MPs and Rebekah Sharkie. We’ve already had ours referred – Fiona Nash, Matt Canavan, Barnaby Joyce, John Alexander. We’ve actually done the right thing already, whereas Labor is harbouring people who they know are UK citizens. Susan Lamb is still a UK citizen, the member for Longman.
ALBANESE: That’s nonsense.
PYNE: She’s never had a renunciation …
ALBANESE: Because she wasn’t a British citizen. That what is says.
PYNE: …of her citizenship and she is still sitting in the Parliament now as a UK citizen.
KNIGHT: We’ve had the love with marriage equality and now we are going to have more of the debate into the New Year. We are out of time fellows.
ALBANESE: How about a bit of maturity? Just flick them all to the High Court and let them deal with it. That is what should have happened.
KNIGHT: Let’s hope we get it sorted into the New Year. Albo and Pyne thanks for joining us.
PYNE: Pleasure. Thank you.
ALBANESE: Good to be with you.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.