Malcolm Turnbull Speech On Same-Sex Marriage

Opposition frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull has spoken in parliament on the Marriage Amendment Bill.

Turnbull made clear that he supported same-sex marriage but was bound by the coalition’s decision to oppose the bill. He said: “In my view, the numbers would not be there even if there were a free vote on the coalition side.” He called on same-sex marriage proponents to support civil unions.

Text of Malcolm Turnbull’s speech on the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012.

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth) (11:37): Following on from my very good friend the member for Leichhardt, let me return the compliment. He has been a vigorous, persuasive and very effective advocate for the rights of same-sex couples and people of a homosexual orientation, and has done a great deal of work, perhaps made more effective because of his unlikely persona as the crocodile farmer from North Queensland, speaking up for the gay community in the widest sense of the word.

Turning to the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012, as honourable members are aware, the coalition has taken a position as a party, and as a coalition party room, not to allow a free vote on this issue. So, like the member for Leichardt, I will not be voting in favour of this bill. Were, however, a free vote to be permitted I would support legislation which recognised same-sex couples as being described as in a marriage. I want to explain to the House why I would do that and also suggest an alternative.

The arguments that have been put against gay marriage fall into three categories. The first one we can call a taxonomic one. They say a marriage is between a man and a woman. You cannot make a table into a chair simply by calling it a chair. It is a table; it does not matter what name you give it. The weakness with that argument is that the definition of marriage has changed again and again over time. In my estimation, at least one-third of the marriages extant in Australia today would not be recognised by the Catholic Church, or indeed by the Anglican Church, because one of the parties to that marriage has been married before and their former spouses are still living. So the truth is that society has defined and redefined marriage again and again. [Read more…]

Malcolm Turnbull’s Speech On Republican Virtues: Truth, Leadership & Responsibility

Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a speech on truth, leadership and responsibility in which he argues that there is a “deficit of trust” in the Australian political system.

Malcolm TurnbullThe speech is likely to cause a stir in the Liberal Party. By implication, Turnbull takes a swipe at his 1990s monarchists opponents, John Howard and Tony Abbott, over their campaign of “utterly dishonest misinformation” during the Republic referendum campaign.

Turnbull is dismissive of climate change denialists and the shock jocks who promote them. Again by implication, he attacks Alan Jones and others: “Dumbing down complex issues into sound bites, misrepresenting your or your opponent’s policy does not respect ‘Struggle Street’, it treats its residents with contempt.”

Turnbull is critical of Question Time in parliament. He says of the Opposition’s approach: “For the last two years the questions from the Opposition have been almost entirely focussed on people smuggling and the carbon tax. Are they really the only important issues facing Australia? A regular viewer of Question Time would be excused for thinking they were.”

Whilst Turnbull says the problem with Question Time is its focus on the Prime Minister, his comments will most likely be seen as a criticism of Abbott’s parliamentary tactics.

Text of Malcolm Turnbull’s George Winterton Lecture at the University of Western Australia.

Republican virtues: Truth, leadership and responsibility.

Tonight’s lecture honours the memory of a most virtuous republican, our friend George Winterton, who despite the inestimable love and prayers of his wife, Rosalind, died in 2008 at the far too young age of 61.

My topic for this lecture is “Republican virtues – truth, leadership and responsibility.”

I will weave together a little about the republican debate in which George and I were generally comrades in arms (although at times comrades at arms length) with some reflections on the decline of the news media, the not unrelated coarsening in the dialogue between politicians and those who elect them about choices and challenges we face as a community, and the resulting dismay with which far too many Australians currently view their parliaments.

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The visitor to Washington DC is quickly reminded that the founders of the American Republic were fascinated, intoxicated perhaps, with another republic, Rome.

Jefferson, entranced with a Roman temple in Nimes writes to his friend Madame de Tesse. “Here I am madam gazing whole hours at the maison quaree like a lover at his mistress.”

But it was not just the architecture of Rome that inspired the founders. Rejecting the British monarchy which oppressed them, and apprehensive of unbridled democracy, they appealed to the example of the noble Romans, the republican Romans, Cincinnatus, Fabius, Cato – men who had selflessly served the state and defended the rights of the people against tyranny just as the Pilgrims had opposed the established church.

Although separated by two thousand years, but very much alive in the libraries of New England, Puritans and Romans fused in the American imagination as a republic of virtue.

The American revolutionaries, common lawyers after all, reached back to a lost republic just as they were creating a brave new world of their own.

We will not linger tonight to debate again which virtues were republican or how they could be reflected in a constitution or whether, indeed, Jefferson was right in equating republican virtue with free farmers whose sturdy arcadian independence he contrasted with the wage slaves of the factories and emporiums of the city. [Read more…]

Malcolm Turnbull Pays Tribute To Robert Hughes

Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a moving tribute to Robert Hughes in the House of Representatives today.

Malcolm Turnbull

Hughes, writer and art critic, died on August 6, aged 74.

Turnbull’s wife, Lucy, was Hughes’s niece. Hughes’s brother, Tom, the Sydney barrister and a former Liberal member of the House (1963-72), was in the public gallery with his wife during the condolence motion.

  • Listen to Turnbull’s tribute (13m)

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Tom Hughes and wife

Malcolm Turnbull

Text of Malcolm Turnbull’s tribute to Robert Hughes in the House of Representatives.

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth) (14:21): Can I thank, on behalf of Bob’s family, the very generous words of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the minister. Bob would have been very chuffed to hear them, if a little bemused. He was the youngest of four. His brother Tom who is with us today with his wife, Chrissie, Lucy’s father, the elder by 15 years, became in effect in loco parentis after Bob’s father, Geoffrey, died when he was only 12.

Bob’s father, Geoffrey, was a hero, and not just to his youngest son. He had been a fighter ace in the First World War and among his many victories had shot down no less than Lothar von Richthofen, the brother of the Red Baron himself.

The Hughes family were staunch and pious Catholics. Bob’s great-grandfather, John, had made a fortune, but as Bob often lamented, had given away most of it in building churches and schools. John had established the Order of the Sacred Heart in Australia, his daughters had become nuns and the Hughes family home, Kincoppal, had become a convent and a school. If John Hughes was not in heaven, Bob often said, God didn’t know the value of money. [Read more…]

Turnbull Speech: Open Markets, Open Minds And An Open Society

Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a speech on the economy in which he sounds a warning about Australia’s economic future.

Malcolm TurnbullThe Opposition’s shadow minister for Communications said of the changing world environment: “The real story is much more than China, or indeed Asia. At the centre of the great economic changes in the world today is an accelerating convergence triggered by trade liberalization and supercharged by the Internet. As people in developing countries acquire more skills at first world standards and as the Internet makes historically non-traded sectors thoroughly trade exposed, there are grave risks as well as new opportunities for high wage, developed economies like Australia.”

Turnbull called for inefficient and uncompetitive industries to adapt or die. He warned against government attempting to pick winners. “Now change is often very unsettling – but we need to remind ourselves and our fellow countrymen that just as firms which cannot change to new circumstances will decline, and sometimes close, the same is true for national economies.”

The speech also deals with education, broadband and “harmonious diversity”.

Text of Malcolm Turnbull’s ANU speech: Open Markets, Open Minds and an Open Society (or why we should be more like Stephanie Gilmore and less like King Canute)

It’s an honour to be here at the ANU for the launch of Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, the new flagship journal of the Crawford School of Public Policy.

Under the editorial leadership of Tom Kompas, Director of the Crawford School, APPS will focus on public policy research from – and about – Australia, Asia and the Pacific, with the first edition out at the start of 2014.

As the newspaper industry’s travails remind us, paper and ink are yesterday’s story, and I note with approval that Tom and his team have future-proofed APPS – it will be published electronically and free of charge, thanks in part to support from AusAID.

Public policy is ultimately the most pragmatic and applied of disciplines. But it must also be founded in rigorous thinking about economic and social behavior – big ideas about the interrelationships that have to be taken into account in successfully leading social and political change.

Rigorous empirical research based on sound precepts – studies of outcomes across jurisdictions, of what worked, what didn’t, and which unanticipated consequences arose – are the most valuable analysis and data available to policymakers considering a problem. And while we are often, but not often enough, aware of what has been tried in the UK, US or New Zealand, we typically know less about what’s been tried elsewhere, particularly beyond the OECD. [Read more…]

The Death Of Margaret Whitlam

Margaret Whitlam died, aged 92, on March 17, 2012.

Parliamentary tributes were delivered on March 19. A memorial service was held on March 23.

Margaret Whitlam Memorial Service

  • Mar 17: Prime Minister Julia Gillard comments on the death of Margaret Whitlam

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  • Mar 17: Remembering Margaret Whitlam
  • Mar 17: Margaret Whitlam Dies, 92
  • Mar 19-20: House of Representatives & Senate Condolence Motion Speeches:
    • Julia Gillard (ALP)

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    • Tony Abbott (Lib)

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    • Tanya Plibersek (ALP>

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    • Julie Bishop (Lib)

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    • Kevin Rudd (ALP)

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    • Malcolm Turnbull (Lib)

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    • Senator John Faulker (ALP)

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    • Senator Marise Payne (Lib)

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    • Senator Bob Brown (Greens)

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    • Josh Frydenberg (Lib)
    • Natasha Griggs (CLP)
  • Mar 23: Tony Whitlam’s eulogy for his mother

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  • Mar 23 Catherine Dovey’s eulogy for her mother

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Turnbull: “The Future Of Newspapers – Is It The End Of Journalism?”

Malcolm Turnbull has canvassed the future of newspapers and journalism in a speech to the Advanced Centre of Journalism at Melbourne University.

Malcolm Turnbull MPThe Opposition’s Shadow Minister for Communications pondered the future of journalism in a post-newspaper world. He said: “We need to recognise that the whole edifice of our fifth estate, of our journalism, has been built on a foundation of newspaper journalism and that that foundation is crumbling.”

Turnbull said: “Our society, our democracy, needs journalism and we need journalists. We need a free, well resourced and independent media as much as we need our politicians and parliaments.”

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  • Watch or download the video of Turnbull’s speech from Melbourne University

Transcript of Malcolm Turnbull’s speech to the Advanced Centre of Journalism at the University of Melbourne.

“The future of newspapers – is it the end of journalism?”

Thirty three years ago, when I joined the news room of the London Sunday Times, its editor, Harry Evans, gave me “Editing and Design” a five volume manual of English typography and layout.

He inscribed them “To Malcolm, with a warm welcome to the grubby ranks of the hot-metal men. Harry”

Re-reading those volumes today, it is remarkable how much is as relevant today as it was in the 1970s. Good design, clear expression, accurate and engaging reporting – the objectives are the same, only the context has changed. [Read more…]

AFL Grand Final: Political Speeches

One of the traditions of the Australian Football League Grand Final is the North Melbourne Grand Final Breakfast.

It is customary for the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader to address the breakfast each year. On occasion, events conspire against their attendance and their deputies stand in.

Here’s a selection from the past decade.

  • 2002

    John Howard (Liberal PM)

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    Simon Crean (ALP Opposition Leader)

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  • 2007

    John Howard (Liberal PM)

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    Kevin Rudd (ALP Opposition Leader)

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  • 2008

    Julia Gillard (ALP Deputy Prime Minister)

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    Malcolm Turnbull (Liberal Opposition Leader)

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  • 2010

    Julia Gillard (ALP Prime Minister) and Julie Bishop (Liberal Deputy Leader)

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  • 2011

    Julia Gillard (ALP Prime Minister)

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    Tony Abbott (Liberal Opposition Leader)

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This is the text of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s address to the 2011 AFL Grand Final Breakfast in Melbourne.

It’s great to be making my maiden appearance at this great national institution, the North Melbourne Grand Final Breakfast.

Ladies and gentlemen, the supreme virtue of Australian Rules is that it’s the one football code that wasn’t invented in England.

My one and only game was a defiant assertion of our national identity: I was playing for Oxford University Australians against Cambridge University Australians.

Unfortunately, no one had told me that a ball kicked out was thrown in by the umpire and not by a player, so I instinctively grabbed the ball and tried to form a line out.

It was at this point that I realised a “balls-up” was not just another way of restarting play – or what happens when politicians try to address the problems of the nation.

My Aussie Rules education continued during last year’s election campaign with Jobe Watson teaching me to handball, badly, at Windy Hill and Harry Taylor giving me marking practice at Skilled Stadium. It was an expensive lesson: we made a $36 million commitment to rebuild the place because Frank Costa drives a hard bargain.

Right now, there seem to be a few parallels between the AFL and politics.

In recent days we have seen someone called Swan labelled the best at his craft in the whole world. Well sorry, Wayne. Dane Swan is the world’s greatest and he thoroughly deserved the Brownlow medal.

I understand that Collingwood has a succession plan that involves Mick Malthouse relinquishing power to Nathan Buckley. It’s just like John Howard planned to hand over to Peter Costello. Lucky there’s an Eddie McGuire to make the deal stick.

Geelong has done magnificently, even after sending their best player to Queensland. It’s a bit like the Australian government after Kevin Rudd was put on the transfer list.

There’s a lot of talk at the moment about everything being too negative and too aggressive with all the focus being on bringing the other side down and I reckon that means Cameron Ling would make a great opposition leader.

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to pay tribute today to two historic clubs and to everyone who’s helped two great sides to get to this year’s Grand Final.

It might not make much sense for our clubs and our pubs but, for politicians on Grand Final day, there is no escaping mandatory pre-commitment. Mine is to the Cats: and by 10 points.

Finally, I should acknowledge that there will soon be an AFL team in western Sydney – a place where Aussie Rules supporters were once as rare as Liberal voters.

I do hope that this new club might further initiate me into the sacred rites of the AFL provided I’m permitted a bit of political evangelism on the side.

Thank you so much, ladies and gentlemen.

Turnbull Condemns Rejection Of Climate Science

Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a speech pleading for the science of climate change to be respected.

  • Listen to Malcolm Turnbull’s speech:

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This is the prepared text of Malcolm Turnbull’s speech to the Virginia Chadwick Foundation.

Malcolm Turnbull delivers the inaugural Virginia Chadwick Foundation speechThis Foundation commemorates the life and work of Virginia Chadwick, one of Australia’s most influential female parliamentarians and a strong friend of the environment. Let me say a few words about her at the outset.

She was a teacher before she presumably decided her charges were not unruly enough and so entered the NSW Parliament – better known as the Macquarie Street Bear Pit! John Fahey the former Liberal Premier of this State and Federal Finance Minister remembers that place very well!

Virginia was elected to the NSW Legislative Council representing the Liberal Party in 1978 at the age of 33. Over 21 years at Macquarie Street she blazed a trail for others to follow: she was the first female president of the NSW Legislative Council, first female Opposition Whip, first female Liberal minister and first female NSW Education minister. [Read more…]

House of Representatives Debates Gay Marriage Resolution

An impressive debate began in the House of Representatives tonight on a motion by the Greens member, Adam Bandt, calling on parliamentarians to gauge their constituents’ views on the issue of marriage equality.

Bandt’s motion reads:

That this House:

(1) notes there is:

(a) a growing list of countries that allow same-sex couples to marry including the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, SPain, Canada and South Africa; and

(b) widespread support for equal marriage in the Australian community; and

(2) calls on all parliamentarians to gauge their constituents’ views on the issue of marriage equality.

Speaking to the motion, Bandt said, “there have been many attempts through history to limit love and all have failed”. The text of his speech is at the end of this page. [Read more…]

The Twitter Election? Not Likely.

There is much over-blown talk of new paradigms at the moment.

Before the 43rd Parliament has even met, the new political paradigm has been shown to be illusory. Standard politics continues apace. An old-fashioned deal has delivered us a minority government. Interest groups and political participants have begun positioning themselves to extract maximum advantage from the new Parliament.

Far from the political process becoming more open and transparent, it is more likely that backroom intrigue will flourish. Intricate deal-making seems set to reach new heights of ingenuity. The numerical permutations and combinations in both houses guarantee that practitioners of the so-called old paradigm will be called upon to ensure that things do not fall apart.

Another paradigm that has failed to materialise is the one that was supposed to deliver a “Twitter election” and usher in a new democracy powered by “social media”. Instead, the golden age of 140-character political participation has been clubbed to death by the established media and all but ignored by the main political parties. [Read more…]