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Why Things Just Got Awkward On Channel 10’s ‘The Project’

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull appeared as a guest
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull appeared to be a good sport by dropping by Channel 10’s The Project tonight. 

The Prime Minister defended his choice to appoint Immigration Minister Peter Dutton as Home Affairs Minister. The move will see the country’s largest security and intelligence agencies under one super portfolio. With co-host Waleed Aly absent from the panel, the PM breezed through questioning. 

But when the topic of conversation turned to marriage equality, things got incredibly awkward. 

How did it unfold? 

Comedian and redhead Rhys Nicholson appeared via a live cross to explain how the demand for read-headed sperm donors is on the rise (yes, while the PM was still at the desk). 

At the end of the segment, Nicholson bravely slipped in an extra comment about Australia’s shameful neglect of marriage equality.

“The main thing is you don’t want anyone to be treated differently about something they can’t change about themselves,” he quipped, then mentioning marriage rights. 

Instead of encouraging Mr Turnbull to address the comment, co-host Carrie Bickmore dived in to ‘save’ him and diverted the conversation. Bickmore went on to praise Mr Turnbull for his support of her charity, Carries Beanies 4 Brain Cancer. 

Yes, Nicholson’s remark was a bit of an ambush and off topic. And yes, Bickmore’s charity is a hugely important cause that deserves air-time. But couldn’t the PM have dignified the marriage rights comment with at least some kind of answer?

On Twitter, viewers praised Nicholson for keeping the Prime Minister accountable. Others observed that Mr Turnbull’s appearance on the panel made for uncomfortable viewing:

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