PM: 'Waleed, that is so wrong'

THINGS were going so well.

Malcolm Turnbull's appearance on The Project began with an impromptu rap after he was asked to name his favourite hip-hop artist.

"I'm still grieving for Tupac," the PM said in jest, referring to the late Tupac Shakur. He then offered a few verses.

"We'll do some rapping here. Waleed, you're the man, you're a Tigers fan. (Fitzy), you can talk, the Crows can squawk."

The mood quickly shifted when Mr Turnbull was asked to weigh in on criticism over US rapper Macklemore's upcoming performance at the NRL Grand Final.

Macklemore plans to perform the so-called "LGBTIQ anthem" Same Love at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on Sunday, despite criticism from the usual suspects, including vocal No voter Tony Abbott.

When asked if the performance should go ahead, the PM answered simply: "He should perform whatever he wants to perform.

"It's the halftime entertainment at the Grand Final. They have got a great artist. He will sing his top hits, that's one of them, that's great."

He said calls to cancel the show made Mr Abbott's free speech argument hypocritical.

"Well, let me put it this way ... 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. I am a free speech person."

Aly pushed the Prime Minister on the subject of free speech and questioned the so-called "civil debate" Australians are experiencing as part of the same-sex marriage postal survey.

"At the start of this process, I recall you saying you really believed Australia could have a civil debate. Why did you think Australia could have a civil debate when your own party couldn't?" Aly asked.

"Waleed, that is so wrong. I mean, somebody is expressing a view which I don't share, right? I do not share his view about the song. I think let him sing the song. It's a popular song. He is a popular artist. That's cool. He has expressed that civilly.

"There have been a few ugly incidents in the debate about legalising same-sex marriage. The vast majority of people - the vast, 99.99 per cent - have dealt with this issue respectfully and civilly as Australians do.

"I have enormous respect for the good sense, the common sense, the respect, the decency of the Australian people, their maturity and they are demonstrating that and confirming that by having a sensible discussion about same-sex marriage.

"I have to say, I really disagreed with you when you basically said Australians weren't grown up enough to have a say in whether same-sex marriage should be legal. We will see what the people have to say. I respect the people.

"You said it would be a horrible debate and people would say many things."

Aly said the number of incidents - including a heated exchange in traffic on Thursday - were increasing.

"We have seen assaults over this. We have seen people waking up daily, people who have gone back to counselling, people who have said they feel like they were back in high school. I didn't mean to go down this path. Since you are attacking me. Don't you have to own up to that? Don't you have to say, that stuff is going on, it's real, and it's directly caused by the fact that we are having this conversation?"

Mr Turnbull said a "tiny percentage" of Australians were behaving badly, but the vast majority were entitled to have their say.

Originally published as PM: 'Waleed, that is so wrong'

Topics:  editors picks free speech malcolm turnbull same-sex marriage ssm the project tony abbott

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