Australian PM Tony Abbot gets a grilling from students on gay marriage and asylum seekers

PM asked why a man is the women’s minister

 

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot faced tough questioning from a group of smart high school students about the carbon tax, gay marriage, immigration policy and his women’s minister.

The year nine students from Newtown High School, on a trip to Parliament House in Canberra, gave Abbot a tough time on his policies, causing him to joke that the teenagers should appear at the next Prime Minister’s Q&A programme.

First he was grilled on not going ahead with a tax on carbon, which Abbot said would not have helped the environment, before pointedly being asked: “Why are you so against legalising gay marriage?”

Abbot said he was all in favour of having “loving, permanent relationships”, but stumbling over his answer, he replied: “I guess it’s a definitional thing”.

The student followed up to say she had a lot of gay friends and that it was “sad to think they can’t get married just because they’r e attracted to the same sex.”

to further loud cheers, Abbott replied: "I'm getting a clear message, all right. Let's have a bloke's question, okay..."

And it didn't get any easier, with the next student quizzing him on his controversial policy of turning back asylum seekers.

He said that turning the boats around, where it is safe to do so, should act as a deterrent to people trying to access the country by boat. He estimated nearly 1,000 people have drowned over the past six years in their attempts to gain asylum in Australia.

Finally, he was asked by a girl in the crowd: “Not saying that I don’t trust you or anything, but I was wondering, why is a man a minister for women? And why is a man in control of the rights for women?”

After giving an answer that only one gender can make decisions about that gender, he told the girl: “If you think that we need to have more women in decision making, you should join the liberal party and work your way up.”

The students filmed the session and one posted the full video to YouTube, saying that Abbot "avoids and waffles himself through" the questions.

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Investigo: Finance Business Partner

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project