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“It’s time Australia wakes up”: Darren McMullen slams “disgusting” Abbott govt

Exclusive: House Husbands star so angry over a lack of gay marriage he isn't sure he wants to live in Australia anymore.

 Darren McMullen as Alex. A Playmaker Production for the Nine Network. Photo Greg Noake

EXCLUSIVE: Tonight on House Husbands Darren McMullen’s character Alex will propose to his boyfriend Kane (Gyton Grantley).

But while he is known as a host on The Voice and an actor on the Nine drama, McMullen holds many social and political views.

In this interview conducted 2 weeks ago, he speaks his mind on a range of issues he believes is holding Australia back. And he lays the blame for all of it on the Abbott government.

“I just think Tony Abbott and his bunch of cronies are a disgusting stain on this country and an embarrassment internationally, quite frankly. So much so I don’t even really want to live here anymore,” he says.

“It’s absolutely disgusting and I’m absolutely ashamed that we have a government like that. It’s getting harder and harder to explain to people in other countries why you would choose to be an Australian.”

“Idiots running the country”

Having been a best man at a friend’s same sex marriage, held overseas, equal rights is an issue close to his heart.

“Most of my friends are gay and a lot of them have moved overseas to countries where they can legally adopt, have surrogates or be recognised as a union,” he explains.

“This government will be looked at with the same level of disgust as abusers of human rights 60, 70 or 80 years ago. Whether it’s against black equality, apartheid in South Africa. There’s no difference. They’re just doing it in a more-clever way, now. People aren’t dying over it but the culture is dying.

“What’s really frustrating is that the majority of Australians would vote in favour of marriage equality. It’s human rights.

“It’s these idiots running the country that aren’t the voice of the country, who are making decisions on behalf of everyone else.

“It pisses me off that so many people in this country are so apathetic about it.

“I moved here when I was 11 in 1992. It was such a forward-thinking country, leagues above anyone else. All through the 90s and the early 2000s, then something happened. Oh yes, it was John Howard. The Liberals happened. And all of a sudden we’ve been regressing ever since.”

It’s not just gay marriage that has McMullen fired up.

“Our environmental policies are throwing the world back decades. We’re pushing loads of money into f***ing coal and bullshit forms of energy that are actually damaging the universe while every other country in the world is moving towards green power,” he insists.

“Why are we throwing money behind coal? Oh, look at the lobby groups behind Abbott’s campaign and all the money the coal industry is putting in. It’s sickening.”

Even Julia Gillard’s recent backflip -in which she stated she would now vote in favour of gay marriage were she still in parliament- does not win favour with him.

“F*** off Gillard. Too little, too late.”

But it is Tony Abbott, whom he likens to George W. Bush, as the target of his fury. And there’s a shopping list of reasons why he doesn’t get McMullen’s vote.

“The environmental issues he’s causing, the human rights catastrophe that’s going on in this country with refugees who are escaping regimes. We went into these regimes, f***ed up their country, and because they are aligned with our philosophies and our lives they can’t go back to those countries because they will be thrown in jail or, worse, executed. So they try and escape to a better country ie. Australia. We put them in prison or worse, where we put the scunge of society. Where we put convicted rapists, child molesters and murderers.

“But we’re putting doctors, nurses, educated folk, who are just coming here for a better life, like the white people did all these years ago… and we’re putting them in jail. Not even jail (here) anymore, but some god-forsaken island.”

“It’s time Australia wakes up and realises what a shit country this is becoming”

What triggered his anger was the moment Tony Abbott used a special joint Liberal-National party meeting to rule against a conscience vote on gay marriage -a move McMullen describes a “stacking the decks.”

“Everyone has a ‘She’ll be right mate, attitude.’ No it’s not. It’s time Australia wakes up and realises what a shit country this is becoming and we stamp it out before it gets beyond repair,” he insists.

“I’m usually not this passionate about things, but I’m very aware after you quote this, I will get a ton of people telling me to ‘F*** off back to my own country.’ Which I get constantly.

“I’ve been here since I was 11 years old. I’m Australian.

“I’ve lived here my whole life yet because I have a slight accent, constantly on Twitter –and it’s always the faceless (people) who would never say it to my face, obviously- say ‘F*** off back to your own country! Why can’t we have someone who is an Australian hosting this show?’ Blah, blah, blah! ‘You have to be born in a place to make it your country!’ Or ‘You have to have been here for generations!’

“If that was the case, most of the races in this country have no right to claim Australia as their own, because they don’t belong here either?” he suggests.

But McMullen also acknowledges other countries are not without criticism.

“America is a f***ed up place, don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot wrong with America: health care, education, the NRA, all these big corporations and lobbies.

“But at least there is some kind of forward-thinking and positivity. They are making steps in the right direction. And every other first-world country. But we’re going backwards.”

“The only hosting job I would do is a John Oliver, Jon Stewart-style show.”

It’s customary for talent to not express their political views for fear of alienating audiences, or even management, but McMullen takes the view that important issues need to be discussed. I ask if he has considered channelling his passion into an avenue within the media?

“Moving forward the only hosting job I would do is a John Oliver, Jon Stewart-style show. Political satire. If you can somehow get through to people and make light of the situation, it’s the best way to educate the masses. By taking the piss out of what’s actually going on,” he explains.

“That’s always been the plan in the hosting realm. In the acting realm it’s doing roles that will help educate people. Alex is a gay guy who loves his boyfriend and wants to get married. There’s nothing wrong with that. So hopefully the more characters like that on the television (will make people think) ‘Gay people are just like us! Why should we care if they get married? It doesn’t affect me at all!’

“So I’m very careful about the decisions I’m making, moving forward in my career.

“The more TV shows that can open up equal rights, environmental issues and all the things that we should be talking about to people in primetime, in the nature of a comedic show, becomes an easier way for people to digest that information, than me getting up on a soapbox and shouting.”

Meanwhile, House Husbands will address same-sex marriage in a way that seeks to entertain and educate a broad audience, through the proposal by Alex (McMullen) to Kane (Grantley).

“The relationship is moving in that direction and there’s a surrogate kid on the way. So it was the next logical step to propose. Luckily the British government isn’t as backwards as the Australian government so we are able to get married in the British Consulate,” says McMullen.

“If he says ‘Yes!’”

House Husbands airs 8:40pm Monday on Nine.

(NB: This interview was conducted before last week’s announcement to intake 12,000 Syrians)

78 Responses

  1. Wow, another article rating really well with comments.
    I love that this site receives lots of traffic and comment!
    I didn’t read all the comments but love that David publishes them with out censorship of his site!
    Again reiterating that the political views are of the interviewee!
    My only comment is on the quote: “I moved here when I was 11 in 1992. It was such a forward-thinking country, leagues above anyone else. All through the 90s and the early 2000s, then something happened. Oh yes, it was John Howard.” Only that Howard was in from 1996 and that includes late 80’s and early 2000’s so the country wasn’t all bad under Liberals then. Although I agree the environmental and social policies appear out of touch as portrayed from Aussie dramas!

  2. All these people complaining – it’s David’s personal blog, not a free entertainment site! He’s more than welcome to publish whatever the heck he likes! We all owe David a great deal of gratitude for the tireless work he does to entertain us every day. Keep up the good work and the media exclusives David, whatever the topic may be 🙂

  3. As a ex-pat living in the US it embarrasses me to continually hear about the crap going on in Australia. Every report coming out seems to be negative. Get with the time folks!

    It will be funny to revisit this article a few years after the laws are passed (you’d be an idiot to think it won’t) and realise how ridiculous this whole debate was.

  4. Nothing wrong in someone in having an opinion.Does not mean they are right or wrong.If Darren is unhappy with the way Australia is perhaps it is time to say let’s move to England.He does not seem to appreciate the opportunities he has had in TV in Australia either.I am against Gay marriage.Know one gay guy that has been together with his partner for like 30 years,and does not like the idea of gays getting married at all.Was reading a story recently as well where a girl was bought up by two women she said growing up with them was great.But she was also against Gay Marriage.I do agree with Darren regarding America,and Australians environmental policies

    1. I just don’t understand why any thinking person would be against allowing someone else to marry their same-sex partner. You do realise that it won’t be compulsory? It will make no difference to you whatsoever whether some John and Jeff or Sarah and Samantha choose to marry each other and I don’t understand why you would wish to deny them the same rights as you.

      1. Not everyone sees things your way SS. And sadly in other countries people have been forced into having to accept it against their beliefs. Its not going to be a case of “it wont effect you” for many. They will be forced to accept it or face losing everything in the courts.

        1. “Losing everything in the courts?” You make it sound like people losing their houses or lifestyles overseas…. overwhelmingly people have simply gotten on with their lives. Cases going to court, such as those refusing to bake a wedding cake, are miniscule. Now we even have a Prime Minister in favour of same sex marriage. Perhaps you might elaborate on how someone else marrying their partner “effects you” in practical terms and would result in you losing everything?

          1. Do you think people should be litigated against if they refuse to sell someone a Gay Wedding cake, David? Should they lose everything because they chose not to violate what they believe is right? I believe the wedding cake sellers had to close down their shop front and pay $135,000, they didn’t have, for pain and suffering to the Lesbian couple. They managed to pay the fine only because sympathetic people donated the money – otherwise they faced bankruptcy. Legalised Gay Marriage might be inevitable but do you believe that people should be forced to recognise it? You know that religious people for instance feel that gay people marrying is not the will of God. Should they be forced to accept it? You say there are only a few such cases, but it’s early days yet. GM has only been legal in the US and other places for a short time. The cases will continue to be filed. No doubt things will…

          2. Yes I believe people should recognise it in a modern civilised society.

            Churches are not being forced to conduct ceremonies that are contrary to their religion. Religions also co-exist alongside other religions. One cake shop -even as an example- should not stop millions of others from basic human rights. History did not give women equal rights, nor African Americans or Indigenous Australians. We mature as civil human beings with basic respects. Substitute any of your points with the words “women” or “black” and see how your argument holds up. Same sex marriage has been legal since 2001 in the Netherlands, Canada since 2005. Still waiting to hear how it impacts on your rights and civil freedoms in a practical sense….

          3. For me personally I don’t have a cake shop, a stationery shop, a wedding clothing shop, a wedding venue and I don’t issue wedding licences (like the lady recently jailed in the US). So for me personally, I don’t have to fear litigation. Others will though. Why do I oppose GM? Because God says its wrong. I can’t in all conscience agree with it on that basis. Does that make me hate Gay People? No. Can I stop GM if it becomes legal? No. Thing I would ask though, marriage has always been essentially a religious covenant and declaration before God. A holy and sacred thing. As times have changed and people don’t care now about God, what do people see marriage as now? Why do people want to marry when they can just co-habitate together? Does marriage make them any more in love? Why get that piece of paper and have a ceremony – when you already have the same legal rights as a married…

          4. Ok so it won’t impact on your rights or your family, thank you. Law and human rights are separate from Church -we have many churches after all (taking the Bible literally is a minefield, as I’m sure you know). It’s unfortunate you feel others should be satisfied with “just co-habitation” instead of full recognition. Sit down with couples and I’m sure they could explain what marriage means to them and the changes it would bring in their individual lives. We shall have to agree to disagree.

          5. It always amuses me when people cherry-pick religious tracts to support an archaic point of view but blissfully ignore others that would brand them as cruel or just weird.

            If someone is going to claim that they are against same-sex marriage because one of the many versions of the Christian Bible proscribes it, then presumably they would also think that men should not trim their beards, be against dwarves or the crippled being permitted into church, and support the stoning to death of any woman who it was claimed was not a virgin on her wedding night.

            As David has already intimated, these same books have been misused to support the continuation of slavery, and fight against giving women and indigenous people a say in govt.

            it was wrong then and it’s wrong now.

          6. Love your work David. Your response to Tatiana summed it up perfectly.

            Tatiana to deny gay people the same rights and you and I, is discrimination pure and simple. I am a catholic too. What I overwhelmingly got from all my religious education was to treat others how I wished to be treated, not to discriminate against them because part of the old testament says so. It’s amusing there are so many things anti gay marriage people ignore in the bible but choose to hold onto this with dear life.

          7. David, I didn’t say they should just accept co-habitation, I asked what marriage means to people in a post-religious world. I ask because I would like to know what a non-religious person thinks.
            You believe that law and beliefs should be separate. I and many others can’t believe that because we believe in God and know his word means something. But we will agree to disagree.

          8. mv understand you come from a catholic background. Where are you now with it all? Are you still a practicing Catholic? Do you still study the bible, pray etc Or is it just something from your past that doesn’t have much relevance now?

  5. I think facilitating and participating in these conversations is part of the evolution of TVT as is becomes as essential thread in the fabric of television media. Good on David for trying to balance these tightrope walks.

  6. Firstly, it’s entirely appropriate to ask an actor about the storyline, including their views on gay marriage. I have previously asked Gyton Grantley, Justine Clarke & Tim Campbell similarly.

    Did I expect the answers I received? Of course not. Other media may have run the sexier quotes, I prefer to give full context, including Darren admitting it would provoke a reaction as well as the timing of the interview. I sincerely doubt he would suggest his opinion matters more than yours, but I am here to interview TV-related talent.

    Politics has been covered here since day 1, because it is in much of our content and successive govts make decisions on media every day. TVT also began in the gay media (not a recent addition) and I will continue to cover diversity on a personal blog.

    The tone and topic of the story is clearly identified on the front of the site.

    1. David make’s a very good point….And something we as readers of this blog have not considered…This is David’s personal blog and he can do with this blog whatever he wants. I apologise for not considering this in the past.

    2. I’m not sure why you’re under fire David. I’ve seen a few political articles here and you’ve been pretty impartial. If you have given an opinion you’ve made it clear it is your opinion. I guess the silly thing is, if you decided not to post this article, we could have seen that as you being politically bias towards someone’s opinion, but we probably would never have known. Keep doing what you’re doing, media and politics will always crossover.

    3. I ignored this article because the headline and actor were of no interest. Though I’d have a look when I saw the comment count that high and was surprised by the over the top reaction to one actors opinion. It is just one opinion people.

      I wonder if we’ll get a liberal party version of The Killing Season now they’re up to the same shenanigans as labour with another leadership challenge today. Though I doubt abbot would make good television.

  7. I agree the if you don’t love it then leave argument is ridiculous and childish. I’m a Christian so don’t support gay marriage however have no issue with it being legalised. I also agree with Darren and his views on Australia being backwards with climate change and refugees. Abbott is an idiot and Darren has the right to express his opinion.

  8. In recent times there seems to be a clear political agenda by David and some of his readers to continuously push gay marriage onto everybody who comes onto this site just wanting to read about the latest tv news – what this site is supposed to be about. Maybe it’s a slow tv news day and David has decided to pull this story out considering it was done two weeks ago, I don’t know but I don’t believe readers shouldn’t have to put up with a barrage of politically motivated propaganda articles like this.

    1. How is this a “barrage”? It’s a story, one of many posted today, with a very clear headline. You clicked on it and read it, then you logged in and made a comment. No one made you do that, you were clearly interested or you would have scanned past it. As for “propaganda” … you don’t get to call something that just because you’re against it.

      1. Well this is just one of many such articles I have seen on this site. Just look at the title! Guaranteed to get people stirred up to air their political views. I thought I was on the ABC or The Guardian!! Obviously such headlines will get people clicking and I’m sure our shrewd friend David knows this. Clickbait. And we all took it.

        1. It’s not often I’m accused of clickbait, which is usually a term associated with non-stories (“You won’t believe what so and so said”). Quite frankly with quotes this volatile, it’s hard to write a headline that reflects the tone of the story that is not equally volatile. Actor Supports Equality doesn’t really represent the article.

  9. Its time that we the australian public cease to get too bent out of shape about the political opinions of people who work in show business.

    He is perfectly entitled to his own opinions, but just because he is an actor and has hosted a few failed overseas reality projects doesn’t mean that his opinion is any more or less important than anyone else in the country.

    Maybe if I needed some advice about how to make a bad formulaic reality talent show – he would the the “go to” expert, but I don’t see him being active in the political process or see his qualifications in politics that would mean that his opinion is any more valuable than any random pulled off the street. If he does want to utilize his public profile to participate in political argument then he can’t complain that people with differing political backgrounds may want to argue/debate the issues he is raising.

  10. Ok, let’s say the SSM get’s put to a vote, and hypothetically gets defeated, its possible, not everyone is on twitter/facebook, so what then? Does he get up and encourage anarchy just because he is “ashamed to be Australian” if people want somewhere to be ashamed of, try being of a middle eastern background and then come speak to me about what we are Australia have to be ashamed about…..
    Just like everyone else who has to accept “his views” he also needs to accept the community view who voted Abbott in, so you know, democracy…. yay

    1. Seventy percent of the general population support same-sex marriage not seventy percent of the twitterati or King’s Cross. It’s Abbot who needs to accept the community view which is in favour of allowing people to be able to choose to marry someone of the same sex as themselves, and at least allow his sitting members a conscience vote instead of being forced to vote the way Abbot wants them to. You know, democracy…. yay.

      1. “Seventy percent of the general population support same-sex marriage”

        Put it to a secret vote where people don’t have to be bullied or be publicly labelled a homophobe and you’ll find it the true level of support and when we have a plebiscite next year or the year after it may indeed pass but it won’t be 70-30 that is for sure

      2. “Seventy percent of the general population support same-sex marriage …”

        Y’know, it’s amazing the mental lengths some will go to deny that. Apparently the same reputable polling organisations that accurately predicted a Liberal victory at the last election, a too-close-to-call election the time before that, and a Labour victory the time before that, just can’t be trusted to accurately determine the population’s opinion on other subjects – say, gay marriage – to within 20% or more…

        (Nevertheless, this is why I don’t believe anyone who stands up for Tony Abbott. Obviously they’re afraid of being bullied or publicly labelled a Tonophobe if they dare reveal their true opinions…)

  11. I am always fascinated by the “if you hate Australia, just leave” kind of comments.

    I thought the sign of a healthy democracy and a smart society was one where people felt free to criticise their country in the aim to keep all debate going about what we are doing, and to keep an eye on where we are going.

    Good on him for having a point of view. An actor – like any citizen – is entitled to his point of view. But don’t tell someone to shut down their point of view when you disagree. Take it on and debate it.

    1. Me too. I also find the double-thinking and cognitive dissonance that must be involved fascinating. After all, it’s much easier to leave a website you’re not happy with than a country with a government you’re not happy with – yet some will emphatically insist that others should do the latter while themselves being unable to do the former…

      You also have to wonder if they know anything about whose website they’re commenting on…

    2. Of course he is entitled to his view, but unlike the ordinary citizen he has a story written about his views because he is an actor. I really don’t care what his views are as they are no more valid than anyone else’s commenting here. Lets not go down the American road here where celebs views are valued more then the average persons.

    3. Well what else do you say to people who are dissatisfied and think everything should change to suit them? You need to understand that this answer is a way of telling you they really don’t care what you think.

      1. Maybe, instead of automatically replying (and don’t think I don’t see the inherent irony here…), they could think back to a recent time where they were dissatisfied and felt they were treated like nobody cared about their opinions – say, before the last election – and reflect on how they behaved then and how they would’ve liked to have been treated?

        Because otherwise, simply spouting “if you don’t like it, leave!” is nothing more than a facile way of saying “I’m on top now, and We don’t want your type here”. And one that’s been irretrievably poisoned by its use in other contexts…

  12. Well this interview was deliberately meant to fire people up! It comes down this: If you’re not happy with the state of affairs as they are, don’t sit and complain…do what you can to fix it.

    1. I don’t agree with this US-style “love it or leave it” attitude. There’s nothing wrong with criticising Australia or pointing out its faults (and we have many). If you really care about a place you should want it to be better. However, leaving doesn’t help. Staying and working towards change, which is admittedly much harder than complaining, is what helps. Politics is cyclical anyway … if you move every time you dislike a government, you’ll wind up moving between countries every few years.

    2. I think you’ll find people just get tired if the whingeing and negativity. Not everyone believes Australia needs to change. Especially when you see how bad other peoples’ countries are. Syria anyone…? So we don’t have gay marriage. Gay couples still have all the legal rights of straight couples. Marriage was once a religious covenant but now to many, just a piece of paper and an excuse to have an expensive wedding and “tell the world we’re in love!” in case they didn’t know. The straights have been saying so for years. But the grass is always greener….

  13. I think it’s funny that so many people seem bothered by an actor expressing his political views, like it’s the first time it’s ever happened. Celebrities in America openly endorse Political parties and leaders, often talking about their Political views. I’m going to guess that when David lined up this interview, his intention wasn’t to sit down to have a political discussion but that is where the interview went. You can’t always predict what areas of discussion an interview will stray into. He is then simply reporting on the contents of this interview. I have no problem with it and continue to enjoy every single aspect of this Free personal blog website.

  14. Laughs! See what happens when you watch too much news and current affairs on the ABC/SBS.

    Darren if you want to be a politician quit your acting job and run as a candidate for The Greens in the next Federal election.

    Nobody really cares about your opinion and most of rants are based on left wing propaganda — perhaps a few episodes of The Bolt Report might do you some good to push your views to much a sensible position (somewhere to the middle).

    As for the PM whether you like him or not he won the last Federal election. Why do so many Labor/Greens supporters still have a problem accepting the peoples vote.

      1. Yes! The Bolt Report is biased but at the opposite end of the spectrum .

        If you do appreciate journalism that is unbiased (unfortunately something lacking in Australia) you need to take the views of both sides of the argument (left/right) and draw your own conclusions.

        Sadly many Australians rely on hear say or mirroring the views of the news service they regularly view/read or listen to.

  15. Who the bloody hell does Darren think he is? I don’t give a stuff what a fairly average host and actor thinks about the political persuasions of a country. Stick to your day job, and keep your opinions on these topics to yourself. If you don’t like it, you can always leave – that’s what democracy is!

    PS Let’s leave the “Exclusives” to much more interesting news.

  16. So this is an exclusive story to this blog.
    I did not know this was a blog pushing political agenda. I do not watch Bolt or read the Australian because the push political agenda and have bias…and they are news media. I am not a fan of shock jocks because of their bias. I have enjoyed this blog for many years. Lets not get political and push an agenda.

    As for Darren. Who do you think you are? You are not employed as a political commentator. We can make up our own minds thanks very much. And thanks for your colourful language. We know Abbott is a goose and his time will come….the sooner the better.

  17. Quite frankly I’m getting sick and tired of this stuff, if you hate Australia, just leave, don’t become feral about stuff just because it’s the latest “fashion” to do so. The only good thing is that he gave Gillard a whack for not supporting SSM, but of course this was one line before we got another verbal vomit about “evil Abbott”

    Honestly TV tonight is a great site, but lately it seems to be veering off course and into politics, and I don’t think people want politics rammed down their throat on an entertainment site.

    1. I don’t see how politics are getting rammed down our throats here? It’s an article you can either choose to click on and read or ignore. No one is forcing you to read it. The title gives you a fairly good overview on what the article is about anyway – it’s not like you can accidentally click on it and then be outraged because you didn’t know it was going to be about politics. David does a fabulous job on this website and you choose to come here.

    2. I wonder if the Fin. Review receives comments like “I don’t think people want film & TV rammed down their throats on a business & politics site…”?

      If you hate David’s choice of content you are, of course, free to follow your own emphatically-dispensed advice. Although I’d hope you didn’t and, like I & everyone else, feel welcome to comment on the bits you like and ignore the bits you don’t.

    3. So that’s your advice. Run away from something you don’t like rather than work to change it for the better? McMullen is right to speak out. This govt was elected by the people but they are not making decisions which are supported by the majority.

      I note that you only complain about “this site ramming politics down people’s throats” when the views expressed are not conservative or right-wing.

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