George Brandis on banning pro-SSM songs at the NRL grand final: 'I thought Mr Abbott believed in freedom of speech'

Macklemore, who’ll perform at the NRL grand final. Photo: PG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Attorney-general George Brandis has questioned Tony Abbott’s commitment to freedom of speech after the backbencher supported calls to ban American rapper Macklemore from performing one of his biggest hits at the NRL grand final.

Plans by the singer to perform his pro-same sex relationships hit, Same Love, have No campaigners in the federal government’s marriage survey calling for it to be stopped, with the former prime minister claiming the song politicises sport.

This morning on ABC TV, the attorney-general said it was “bizarre” that people campaigning against same-sex marriage over fears about its impact on freedom of speech would be advocating a ban.

“For Mr Abbott and anyone else to say that it should be banned I think is a bizarre thing to say. I thought Mr Abbott believed in freedom of speech,” Brandis said.

While the NRL came out in favour of same-sex marriage early in the campaign, Tony Wall, a father of five who played around half a season in first grade for the Wests Magpies in the mid 90s has launched a change.org petition calling on the NRL to “reconsider its political position and remove LGBTIQ politics out of the awesome sport of Rugby League”.

“It will be very difficult to watch the NRL Grand Final with my wife and five young children as the event will be heavily politicised with a LGBTIQ anthem taking centre stage,” Wall’s petition says.

The petition, launched two days ago, has around 7000 signatures.

The Coalition for Marriage, the leading No campaign group, accused the NRL of force-feeding fans LGBTIQ messages and making the grand final a “PC lecture theatre”.

Spokesman, David Goodwin, said it was “bizarre” that the song was being performed at half time and millions of Australians disagreed with its message.

“It’s one thing to let either side of the debate advertise during the finals, it’s a completely different thing to embed same-sex marriage advocacy as an official statement,” he said.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg told radio 2GB that Macklemore will perform four songs, including Same Love.

“He’s playing four of his biggest hits, one of those will include that song and we’re very comfortable with that,” he said.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson appeared on Sunrise this morning saying said she’d never heard of Macklemore and preferred to see John Farnham or Daryl Braithwaite to perform instead.

John Farnham performed at the 1990 AFL grand final and returned in 2009 with Jimmy Barnes and Mark Seymour to perform The Voice.

Same Love was nominated for a Grammy for Song of the Year, reached No. 1 on the Australian charts in 2013, and was listed at No. 4 on Billboard’s list of Best Songs of 2013.

Macklemore told US media he’d been receiving lots of tweets from “angry old white men” about the issue.

Here’s the song causing all the fuss.

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