“Let him play the song” Turnbull laughs off Macklemore complaints

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has laughed off Tony Abbott’s concerns about rapper Macklemore performing his song Same Love at the NRL Grand Final.

“He should perform whatever he wants to perform,” the Prime Minister said, “I mean for heaven’s sake, it’s the half-time entertainment at the Grand Final. They’ve got a great artist, he’ll sing his top hits, that’s one of them. That’s great.”

Asked if Abbott’s calls for the song not to be performed made his statements about the importance of freedom of speech hypocritical, Turnbull said his predecessor was not being consistent.

“Trying to censor the playlist at the half time entertainment at the Grand Final is not consistent with taking a liberal approach to free speech.”

“The reality is its the NRL’s grand final, they’ve chosen an artist, he’s going to perform some songs, they’ll be popular songs, not everyone will like them, it doesn’t matter. That’s entertainment.” Turnbull said.

“I don’t think we should go round censoring playlists, let him play the song.”

The PM appeared to be in an unusually buoyant mood. Turnbull declared that his favourite rapper was the late Tupac Shakur, and surprised the panel by throwing out a few raps of his own.

Host Waleed Aly asked the PM if calls for the song to be banned were incendiary, to which Turnbull joked that the host was killing the fun by being serious.


The conversation took a more serious turn when Aly asked Turnbull why he thought Australia could have a civil debate over the issue of marriage equality, when it was becoming clear that his own party couldn’t.

Turnbull said he disagreed with Aly’s assessment of the current debate.

“There have been a few ugly instances in the debate about legalising same sex marriage. The vast majoirty of people, the vast -ninety nine point triple nine per cent, have dealt with the issue respectfully and civilly as Australians do.”

The Prime Minister said he was disappointed that Aly had previously suggested that the debate over marriage equality would not be respectful.

Aly hit back saying “We’ve seen assaults over this, we’ve had people waking up daily, people going back to counselling, who previously didn’t need to. We have people who’ve said they feel like they are back in high school, when they were humiliated.”

“Don’t you have to own up to that, don’t you have to say ‘that stuff’s going on, its real, and its directly caused by the fact we’re having this conversation?'”

Turnbull said people saying nasty things, doing mean and illegal things was part of how a democracy operates.

Watch the interview below. 

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