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For The Record, This Is What Julia Gillard Used To Say About Marriage Equality

Let's go to the transcript.

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Delivering the 2015 Michael Kirby lecture, Gillard said her views had evolved on same-sex marriage, despite repeatedly advocating against it while in office.

"As many of you in this room are aware, I voted against same-sex marriage when changes came before the federal parliament," she said. "I am aware that this vote by me was viewed as odd by many given what they know of my broader values."

In a fairly lukewarm endorsement of marriage equality, Gillard went on to say she would "certainly cast her ballot in favour" of the reform if a vote was brought forward today.

The announcement from Gillard was widely derided as "too little, too late" on social media.

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There must be a club now for former politicians supporting same-sex marriage now they have no power to do anything about it.

So let's take a little trip down memory lane and see what Gillard has said about marriage equality in the past.

The year was 2010, Gillard had just become prime minister after knifing Kevin Rudd, and she was asked about marriage equality on radio. This is what she said:

"This is the frank answer, we'd got very clear Labor party policy on this and it won't be changing – that we believe the Marriage Act is appropriate in its current form, that it's recognising that marriage is between a man and a woman, but we have as a government taken steps to equalise treatment for gay couples, in the things that government does in social security benefits and the like."

Asked for her personal view on the issue, Gillard said it reflected the broader community.

"I think that's where we're at as a community now, and I think it's appropriate that for these very sensitive issues that we're reflecting community views."

H/T SameSame


"I do find myself on the conservative side in this question." Gillard told Sky News in 2011.

Gillard declared traditional marriage has a "special status" in society and that, "some important things from our past that need to continue to be part of our present and part of our future."

Ok so she may not have actually said the word, but she did vote against same-sex marriage when Labor's Stephen Jones brought a private member's bill before parliament in 2012.


"Many will ask, what is my personal opinion and where do I stand in the debate? As I have said many times, I support maintaining the Marriage Act in its current form, and the government will not move legislation to change it."

My position flows from my strong conviction that the institution of marriage has come to have a particular meaning and standing in our culture and nation and that should continue unchanged. The Labor Party platform currently reflects this view."

That was prime minister Julia Gillard writing in The Age in 2011 as she advocated against a binding vote for Labor on marriage equality.

Gillard was also quizzed on the issue by a voter during a "people's forum" in 2013.

"I have thought in this area that we should develop and purpose-create something new that guides us for the future," she said.

"So that there would be marriage in its traditional form and there would be other ways of recognising relationships that are full of love and full of significance."


After leaving office, (and presumably any political pressure she may have felt to stand by her pervious statements) Gillard was quizzed by CNN's Christiane Amanpour on same-sex marriage in 2013.

"I recognise that I had perhaps an eccentric view," Gillard said while acknowledging that marriage equality was probably inevitable.

"I've made up my mind about my own personal position," she added, "and when I was in politics I made sure that it was my position, not my political party's position.

"This is a debate with a big force for change now," she said. "I reasoned my way through to my own position through my own life experiences. And I didn't want to impose it on anyone else."

A year after leaving office, Gillard sat down with Channel 9 to discuss her memoir, My Story, and she still wasn't having any of it.

"I've got what may be in the modern age a kind of old-fashioned, feminist view about, can we take the traditional institution of marriage and stretch it? Or do you create some other way of solemnising relationships and recognising them as of worth and status?" she said.

"When I was a young feminist I would've said overwhelmingly the gay community was on that track too, but things have changed.

"I accept the course of human history now is that we are going to see same-sex marriage here and in, you know, most parts of the developed world."

In the book, Gillard deviated from her previous "conservative" views on marriage equality.

"My views are not that same-sex marriage is too radical. If anything, the vision is not radical enough," she wrote.

Rob Stott is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Rob Stott at

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