back to top

This 29-Second Interview Is A Perfect Metaphor For Australia's Marriage Equality Debate

Tag yourself.

Posted on

This interview happened in Australia today. Watch it – it's literally 29 seconds long.

.@timwilsoncomau tells @vanOnselenP he's said 'everything I have to say' when it comes to gay marriage. #auspol…

The guy being interviewed is Liberal MP Tim Wilson, who is part of a recent push to overturn the government's policy of a plebiscite on same-sex marriage and hold a free vote. The interviewer is Peter Van Onselen, a Sky News Australia host.

Here's the transcript in full.

Peter Van Onselen: Do you like the idea of a secret ballot [on same-sex marriage policy] in the party room?

Tim Wilson: Thanks Peter. I've said everything I have to say on this issue. I make no plans to make any other comments at this time. I'd rather talk about something else that actually matters to the Australian population. The economy, energy prices, what's going on with Labor's tax slug. You pick it, I'm happy to talk about it. I've said what I've said on this issue.

Van Onselen: Tim Wilson, thanks for your company.

Wilson: That's alright, pleasure.


So what's happening here?

Sky News

Despite being a huge part of why everyone is currently talking about same-sex marriage, Wilson is in the awkward position of not being able to say TOO MUCH about what his side is planning because it's so incredibly tense inside the government on this issue and a party room meeting is looming on Monday.

He's said what he can say — and has also been asked about this roughly 273 times in the past 48 hours.

The pivot to other matters — the economy, energy, Labor's tax plans — is a common tactic from prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has become increasingly hostile to answering questions about same-sex marriage in the past few days.

Sky News

Meanwhile, Van Onselen is frustrated because everyone is talking about same-sex marriage and given Wilson's role in the energised debate, it's a reasonable question.

Plus, Tim Wilson on the economy or energy is nowhere near as newsworthy as even the vaguest whiff of a new angle on same-sex marriage right now.

This is a metaphor for Australia's same-sex marriage debate in a lot of ways.

In one scenario, Tim Wilson is the Australian people who have outlined their support for same-sex marriage in countless polls and a recent government-funded study, and Peter Van Onselen is the government wanting to talk about it more.

In another scenario, Wilson is the Australian people who really don't see same-sex marriage as an issue of high importance and would much rather hear politicians talking about healthcare and electricity prices, and Peter Van Onselen is himself but also representing all the journalists constantly asking everyone about same-sex marriage.

In ANOTHER scenario, Tim Wilson is Malcolm Turnbull, who really, really doesn't want to talk about same-sex marriage (but for slightly different reasons than Wilson), and Peter Van Onselen is himself but also representing all the journalists constantly asking Turnbull about same-sex marriage.

In another scenario still, Tim Wilson is the same-sex couples who are completely done with further chatter on this debate and just want it legalised, and Peter Van Onselen is...once again himself, for some reason interviewing a random couple on Sky. (Really, Wilson is the better metaphor here.)

And of course it's also just frustrated Tim Wilson and frustrated Peter Van Onselen.

So on one hand, almost EVERYONE wants to stop talking about same-sex marriage...especially the government, which wants its agenda to be the focus.

But on the other hand, there's zero chance of this chat dying down until same-sex marriage is legalised. And until then, journalists will keep asking questions about it. There is, of course, this option:

How to get journalists to stop asking questions about SSM: 1. Get parliament to vote on it.

  1. Anyway, who is in the right here?

    Tim Wilson. I'm bloody sick of talking about it too.
    PVO. Wilson is part of the push and should have to answer questions.
    I kinda see where both of them are coming from.
    Wilson should have answered the question, but PVO shouldn't have cut him off so quickly.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later
Looks like we are having a problem on the server.
Anyway, who is in the right here?
    vote votes
    vote votes
    vote votes
    vote votes

Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Lane Sainty at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

Take quizzes and chill with the BuzzFeed app.