Breaking: Jeff Kennett explains why he backflipped on this important issue 93



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Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett has eloquently described the reason he completely changed his opinion on a divisive and controversial issue – and he insists it was personal.

Speaking with Richard Fiedler on ABC Radio this morning, Mr Kennett said he wholeheartedly supports marriage between same-sex couples because “it is a person’s right to live a happy life”.

Just four years ago, Mr Kennett famously said, “Clearly the best environment in which to bring a child into the world is a stable, loving environment in which a male and female are married to each other.”

He later went on to change his position, but many saw it as an attempt to appease the gay and lesbian community rather than a sincere attitudinal shift.

In October 2011, The Sydney Morning Herald reported:  “In a change of heart, Mr Kennett, the chairman of the national depression initiative beyondblue, tells Joy FM president David McCarthy: ”The most important thing is a loving relationship and I don’t care what that loving relationship is, right? I really don’t care whether it is a loving relationship between a male and female, be it between two men, two women, be it a single parent, right? A loving relationship is by far the best.”’

Today, Mr Kennett elaborated on his change of heart.

He said he felt lucky to have had such a wonderful happy life and that led him to ask himself, “What right to I have to deny a citizen the right to have as much joy, pleasure and satisfaction in life as I have had?”

Mr Kennett, who founded mental health organisation beyondblue went on to tell the story about a gay couple who desperately wanted to marry in front of their parents. Sadly, one of the men’s fathers died before they got that chance and the couple was terribly upset.

He explained that he has spoken to plenty of healthy, educated, law-abiding citizens who are anxious and stressed “because they can’t live their lives with the satisfaction we can as heterosexuals”.

Mr Kennet says he came to the conclusion that marriage between same-sex couples made no difference to his life but an enormous difference to gay couples.

“I thought how is that going to affect my life, not one iota, but it is affecting their lives and possibly their mental health, and if not it is at least affecting their happiness – and what right have you or I to affect the happiness of someone else?”

“It’s just common sense,” he added.

What do you think of Jeff Kennet’s views and how they have changed? Share your thoughts below. 

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  1. We all live and learn but it takes a brave man to come out an admit publicly he was wrong and has changed his mind..good on him

    2 REPLY
    • You took the words right out of my mouth David. Indeed it takes a big man to admit he was wrong and change his views.

    • I applaud both of your comments! What difference does it make as to who or how you ‘love’ as long as ‘love’ is what is in your heart.

  2. We are only this earth once, only the arrogant would want to deprive others of happiness..good on ya Jeff Kennet for admitting he was wrong

  3. Good on you Jeff for admitting you were wrong, if it doesn’t effect your life personally then why should you object to gay marriage.
    I believe in equality for everyone including same sex marriage.

  4. I don’t like this person, he sold out the state of Victoria, amalgamated councils and schools. I couldn’t care less what he thinks. He wouldn’t have any influence anyway on the position of gay marriage.

    5 REPLY
  5. Well said Jeff we can all learn from you and step up and help everyone enjoy there life there is far to much hatred and animosity today towards one another We all need to remember we are all born on this earth together to live love and enjoy life as best we can and repect one another

  6. “Good morning. We want to apply for a marriage license.”
    “Names?”, said the clerk.
    “Tim and Jim Jones.”
    “Jones? Are you related? I see a resemblance.”
    “Yes, we’re brothers.”
    “Brothers? You can’t get married.”
    “Why not? Aren’t you giving marriage licenses to same gender couples?”
    “Yes, thousands. But we haven’t had any siblings. That’s incest!”
    “Incest? No, we are not gay.”
    “Not gay? Then why do you want to get married?”
    “For the financial benefits, of course. And we do love each other. Besides, we don’t have any other prospects.”
    “But we’re issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples who’ve claim they’d been denied equal protection under the law. If you are not gay, you can get married to a woman.”
    “Wait a minute… A gay man has the same right to marry a woman as I have. But just because I’m straight doesn’t mean I want to marry a woman. I want to marry Jim.”
    “And I want to marry Tim. Are you going to discriminate against us just because we are not gay?”
    “All right, all right. I’ll give you your license. Next.”

    “Hi. We are here to get married.”
    “John Smith, Jane James, Robert Green, and June Johnson.”
    “Who wants to marry whom?”
    “We all want to marry each other.”
    “But there are four of you!”
    “That’s right. You see, we’re all bisexual. I love Jane and Robert, Jane loves me and June, June loves Robert and Jane, and Robert loves June and me.
    All of us getting married together is the only way that we can express our sexual preferences in a marital relationship.”
    “But we’ve only been granting licenses to gay and lesbian couples.”
    “So you’re discriminating against bisexuals!”
    “No, it’s just that, well, the traditional idea of marriage is that it’s just for couples.”
    “Since when are you standing on tradition?”
    “Well, I mean, you have to draw the line somewhere.”
    “Who says? There’s no logical reason to limit marriage to couples. The more the better. Besides, we demand our rights! The mayor says the constitution guarantees equal protection under the law. Give us a marriage license!”
    “All right, all right. Next.”

    “Hello, I’d like a marriage license.”
    “In what names?”
    “David Anderson.”
    “And the other man?”
    “That’s all. I want to marry myself.”
    “Marry yourself? What do you mean?”
    “Well, my psychiatrist says I have a dual personality, so I want to marry the two together. Maybe I can file a joint income-tax return.”

    “That does it!? I quit! You people are making a mockery of marriage!”

    15 REPLY
    • that is to long and confusing for me to read after being up looking after my very sick wife all night ,but I am sorry you have psychiatric problems and hope you have a great day

    • Baloney and balderdash – oh ok…call it like it is. BULLSHIT! Alan – it is all about LOVE – get it? Just love. Yes – love and belonging.

    • So what’s your problem with gay’s? Why do you think gay people should not be allowed to be married? Your scenarios are a little thin to be taken seriously as there are sensible reasons for preventing marriages in some instances. As for multiple people, it’s not rare in some communities. I do think you are just trying to make a mockery of people that have been accepted around the world. You’re entitled to your opinion but there’s no need to belittle decent people searching for happiness.

    • I have made no criticism of homosexuality. Homosexual people share equal rights already and so they should. Regarding marriage, consider the children – everyone is conveniently ignoring the benefits of the different contributions of mothers and fathers.

    • Alan, if you would do the research you would find that in terms of emotional well being and developmentally, children from same sex unions do better, on average, than those from ‘ mainstream” marriage. I have friends and family raising kids in same sex unions, as they have for decades. All happy healthy adults. The majority of my hetro friends and family have been divorced.

    • Disagree Robyn. I can quote as many examples as you can of damaged adults. I have done plenty of research and you can find stats and examples to support any theory you like. Kids are better off with a mum and a dad. Divorces happen but that doesn’t mean kids shouldn’t have a mum and a dad.

    • It’s not my theory, it’s independant research. In an ideal world kids have a mum and a dad who love and care for them and treat them with dignity and kindness. But this is not an ideal world. So to have one parent who does this, or two mums who do this, or two dads who do this, is more important than having one parent with a vagina and one parent with a penis who don’t do this.

    • My own son was raised by two women who denied access. He is damaged beyond reason. Attempted suicide for starters.

    • My daughter was abandoned by her father. Huge damage overcome by the love of her mother. My husband abandoned by father and several mothers. Huge damage overcome by hard work and the love of his wife. My nieces un damaged by the love of their two fathers and their birth mother. My god son un damaged by the love of his two mothers. It’s the love that is important, not the gender of those who love.

    • We are not going to change each other’s view. Let us agree to disagree and respect each other. I have no unkind feelings towards people of any race or sexual preference or how they wish to live but call it a civil union or something other than marriage.

  7. No argument from me, I was never a fan of his but I agree that there needs to be equality and allow people the freedom to marry who they like. If you’re not into gay marriage, you don’t have to marry one.

    4 REPLY
    • Gays can marry now. All they need to do is find a suitable partner of the opposite gender. Nobody is stopping them living together, they have done so for ages.

    • So why can’t they marry each other? You are not being honest and open. Try telling it the way you really feel. I’m not sure why you want these people to be treated differently to the rest of us.

    • I guess them being allowed to marry will affect your life Alan? Won’t affect mine or yours, get over it

  8. Exactly Kennett – I agree. It does not affect our lives one bit but it means a whole lot to those who so love each other. Live and let live. Good on him (gee never ever thought I’d say that!).

  9. I fail to see the link between happiness and “marriage”. It is the couple’s loving relationship that brings that happiness not a piece of paper. If they want to share their assets they could have a Civil Union.

    3 REPLY

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