POLITICS

Bill Shorten Wants To Do Away With Our '50s Definition Of Family

"I think what parents don't need is the judgment of others."

29/06/2016 8:47 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:56 PM AEST
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Bill Shorten and his daughter Clementine.

Bill Shorten opened up about how his experience of being a stepfather has shaped his views on family while appearing on the ABC's Kitchen Cabinet on Wednesday night.

The episode was aired after Shorten was criticised on Wednesday morning when The Australian published footage of him telling an Australian Christian Lobby forum three years ago that he was "completely relaxed about having some form of plebiscite" on same-sex marriage.

However, he has since admitted that he's had a change of heart, claiming it had been a stitch up so that Malcolm Turnbull "could get some avid conservatives to vote for him in the internal civil wars of the liberal party".

During his relaxed chat with host Annabel Crabb, Shorten advocated for changing the views of Australians when it comes to what makes a family.

"This 1950s definition of what constitutes a family, I don't think that describes not just gay couples with kids but I don't think it describes blended families," he told Crabb.

I think what parents don't need is the judgment of others

"I don't think it captures single-parent families. You know that old saying, 'it takes a village to raise a child'? There's a lot of truth to that.

"One of the reasons why I support marriage equality is that same-sex-attracted couples who love each other and have kids, why should their kids somehow feel invalidated or that somehow their parents, their carers, that their relationships are any less valuable or wanted?"

Shorten said that being a stepfather has made him realise that politicians should be working to enable people to live their lives without fear or prejudice, further cementing his position against a same-sex marriage plebiscite.

The Opposition Leader married Chloe Bryce, the daughter of former Governor General Quentin Bryce, in 2009 and has one child with her, Clementine. Chloe has two children from a previous marriage, Georgette and Rupert.

"The experience of being a father, of being a stepfather, has opened my eyes that people's relationships don't need opinion polls from other people," he said.

"The job of government is to help create the right economic circumstances, you know, do the right things in education, health care, enable people's lives. It's not to stand in some sort of moral judgment.

"I think what parents don't need is the judgment of others."

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