Magda Szubanski gets fired up over marriage plebiscite on Q&A

Magda Szubanski I Do Marriage Equality Shirt

Comedian Magda Szubanski engaged in a passionate debate with Deputy Nationals leader Fiona Nash over the government’s planned marriage equality plebiscite on Monday night’s episode of ABC’s Q&A.

Senator Nash argued the plebiscite gave “every single Australian the right to have say” on marriage equality, but Szubanski said the poll’s $160 million cost would be better spent on aged care and called for a free parliamentary vote on the issue.


Szubanski asked her: “Can I ask one simple question? Do you think I’m equal to you?”

“Of course I do,” Senator Nash replied.

“If I was your daughter, being gay, would you think that I should have the right to be married?” Szubanski asked.

“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,” Senator Nash said.

“I love my children regardless… it would make absolutely no difference at all. I completely respect your view and your desire to see that as equality, others have a different view… There isn’t right and wrong in this debate.”

But the comedian responded: “But you won’t give me my rights. Thanks for nothing.”

When fellow panelist Senator Jacqui Lambie said she supported the plebiscite, Szubanski appealed to her personally.

“I want to address you on a more personal level. You have an unconventional family yourself, Jacqui. As a single mother, you would once have been treated terribly. That is what is happening to me and my community now,” she said, to which Senator Lambie said some single mothers are still discriminated against.

Musician Jimmy Barnes told the audience that debate during the ultimately successful marriage equality referendum in Ireland last year “got really below the belt” and he didn’t know if Australians would want to put families through that.

“I have friends who lived in Ireland and it was very, very ugly,” he said.


“I don’t think it’s necessary when that is what the Government is supposed to do.

“Like I said at the start, no-one asked us when they changed it in the first place,” he said, referring to former Prime Minister John Howard’s 2004 change to the Marriage Act to define marriage as between “a man and a woman.”

Szubanski said she had a personal connection to Barnes and they were a modern family.

“Jimmy and I are actually family. I’m the godmother of his granddaughter,” she said.

“He’s a Scottish migrant, I’m a polish-Scottish migrant. His wife is Thai, I’m a lezzo. We are that modern family, what threat does it pose? Except that I don’t have the same rights as the other people in my family.”

Watch some more highlights from Q&A’s marriage equality discussion below:

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