go to content

"Do You Think I Am Equal To You?": Magda Szubanski Asks Government Minister

"Do you think I am equal to you?"

Posted on

Australian actress Magda Szubanski slammed the proposed plebiscite on marriage equality on Monday's Q&A program, asking government minister Fiona Nash "Do you think I am equal to you?"

Families asked us not to debate their value, says @Tony_Burke. @SenatorNash & @JimmyBarnes discuss rights #QandA https://t.co/oV1fUvae87

Szubanski, who is gay, teamed up with rock star Jimmy Barnes to criticise the controversial policy, arguing the public vote is expensive and implies same-sex couples marrying is a threat to society.

"One simple question," Szubanski said to Nash. "Do you think I'm equal to you?"

Nash: Of course I do.

Szubanski: If I was your daughter, and, being gay, would you think that I should have the right to be married?

Nash: I've been asked this question a lot over the last 12 months and my response was that my view is still the traditional view of marriage. I love my children, regardless of what they ever brought home for me, it would make absolutely no difference at all. I completely respect your view and your desire to see that as equality...

Szubanksi: But you won't give me my rights. Thanks for nothing.

Nash defended the government's policy, saying the plebiscite would "remove division".

"I trust the Australian people to be able to have a calm and sensible debate about this. I don't buy into this whole argument that we're going to have this horrendous outcome of outpouring that's going to be terribly negative," she said.

But Barnes disagreed, saying he fears for people who may not be able to handle an ugly debate.

"I think it's easy for us to all sit there and say let's talk about this," he said.

"But if someone is nasty about your family, about your way of life, about your being, and you can't... it's very difficult to sit and take, not easy for an adult, never mind a child."

Szubanski said she and Barnes were part of a classic "modern family".

"Now, Jimmy and I are family," she said. "I'm the godmother of his granddaughter. He's a Scottish migrant, I'm a Polish-Scottish migrant. His wife is Thai. I'm a lezzo. We are that modern family!"

Tony Burke, the manager of opposition business, said on the show that he thought Labor would block the plebiscite, although the party is yet to announce a firm decision.

"If the intention is equality, it's not that if it's the one issue in 100 years you have to have a plebiscite over. That's not equality," he said.

Meanwhile, senator Jacqui Lambie called for a triple referendum on marriage equality, euthanasia, and constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians.

The first two issues do not require constitutional change to be legislated.

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

Contact Lane Sainty at lane.sainty@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.