Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has been asked ‘one of the most controversial questions of modern times’ before his meeting with King Charles in England.
Controversial British broadcaster Piers Morgan tried to fool Albanians during their sit-down interview in London Tuesday by asking him to define what a woman is.
‘A grown woman,’ the prime minister answered immediately.
“How hard was that to answer?” Morgan then asked the prime minister.
‘Not too hard. I was actually asked during the campaign, but I think we should respect people for whoever they are,” Albanese said.
The question has become a hotly debated political topic as calls for transgender people to self-identify as the gender they want grows, with many politicians struggling to answer for fear of upsetting critics or trans rights supporters.
“I know there can be some controversy at times like that,” Mr. Albanese continued.
“I’m not a fan of some of the campaigns (against transgender issues). There was a very controversial visit to Australia recently that was designed to stir up trouble,” he said, referring to Posie Parker’s visit.
“Young people who come to terms with their identity and who they are, I think they should also be respected.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (right) has met with King Charles III (left) at Buckingham Palace ahead of this Saturday’s coronation
He was then challenged by Morgan on the issue of transgender athletes in women’s sports.
“That’s an example because the sports organizations are dealing with that issue,” Mr Albanese said.
“My opinion is that the sports organizations should tackle that problem.”
He was then asked if he thought it was fair for biologically born athletes to compete against those born female.
“Well, in Australia the sporting codes can deal with that and they have,” Albanese said.
He reiterated that he had great respect for King Charles III and did not expect an “imminent” referendum on deposing the monarch as head of state.
“I think you can be a lifelong Republican like me and still respect the institutions,” the prime minister said.
“It is a great honor to represent all Australians here, regardless of the different views people will have on our constitutional arrangements.
“If the demand is there, there will certainly be a vote.”
The extensive interview also touched on relations with China, US President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump, cancel culture, the Ashes and the late Australian icon Barry Humphries.
Earlier in the day, Piers Morgan (left) had some tough questions for Mr. Albanese (right)
The Prime Minister later had a private audience with King Charles at Buckingham Palace in London on Tuesday local time.
It was his second meeting with the king in eight months after they first met after Queen Elizabeth II’s death last September.
“It was a pleasure to meet King Charles III again at Buckingham Palace, and an honor to represent Australia at his coronation,” Albanese said.
The meeting took place hours before Buckingham Palace was locked down after a man allegedly threw shotgun cartridges at the palace.
Mr Albanese reiterated at the meeting that the King and other members of the Royal Family are welcome to visit Australia.
A lifelong Republican, he also pledged to do “whatever is perfectly proper as a representative of Australia” when asked if he would swear the oath of allegiance to the King.
The Prime Minister’s decision to publicly pledge allegiance to King Charles during his coronation has sparked backlash at home.
Former Socceroo and Australian of the Year finalist Craig Foster has labeled the move as ‘completely unnecessary’.
“Politely decline and make a clear statement for our democratic principles of accountability, representation and the sovereignty of the Australian people,” Foster tweeted.
Australians watching the coronation have been asked to take the oath of allegiance, but several prominent ministers have said they will not take part in the oath.
King Charles III shakes hands and smiles with Anthony Albanese during their private audience at Buckingham Palace
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said it was ‘unlikely’ he would pledge allegiance to the king at the coronation or attend the ceremony.
The Australian Republican Movement had called on Mr Albanese to remain silent during the oath.
The Prime Minister is among a contingent of Australians invited to the coronation, along with Governor-General David Hurley and state governors.
The Australian delegation to attend the coronation includes Matildas captain and football star Sam Kerr, singer Nick Cave, Aboriginal recording artist Jasmine Coe, comedian Adam Hills and London-based nurse Emily Regan.
In honor of the coronation, the Australian government will contribute $10,000 to the Western Australian charity Friends of the Western Ground Parrot.
Mr Albanese said King Charles had long been in favor of conservation and the government was pleased to mark this event by helping to protect the critically endangered bird.
The king, who is the monarch of 14 overseas realms including Australia, will host a luncheon for prime ministers and governors-general at Buckingham Palace and also attend a meeting of Commonwealth heads of government on Friday, the day before his coronation.
Mr Albanese said he would “meet with other world leaders to strengthen Australia’s relations around the world” during his visit to the UK.