Video: Abbott grilled by students on gay marriage, tax
PRIME Minister Tony Abbott faced tough questioning from a group of smart high school students about the carbon tax, gay marriage, immigration policy and his women's minister.
The year nine students from Newtown High School, on a trip to Parliament House in Canberra, gave Mr Abbott a tough time on his policies, causing him to joke that the teenagers should appear at the next Prime Minister's Q&A program.
First he was grilled on not going ahead with a tax on carbon, which Mr Abbott said would not have helped the environment, before pointedly being asked: "Why are you so against legalising gay marriage?"
Mr Abbott said he was all in favour of having "loving, permanent relationships", but stumbling over his answer, he replied: "I guess it's a definitional thing".
The student followed up to say she had a lot of gay friends and that it was "sad to think they can't get married just because they'r e attracted to the same sex."
To further loud cheers, Mr Abbott replied: "I'm getting a clear message, all right. Let's have a bloke's question, okay..."
And it didn't get any easier, with the next student quizzing him on his controversial policy of turning back asylum seekers.
He said that turning the boats around, where it is safe to do so, should act as a deterrent to people trying to access the country by boat.
He estimated nearly 1,000 people have drowned over the past six years in their attempts to gain asylum in Australia.
Finally, he was asked by a girl in the crowd: "Not saying that I don't trust you or anything, but I was wondering, why is a man a minister for women? And why is a man in control of the rights for women?"
After giving an answer that only one gender can make decisions about that gender, he told the girl: "If you think that we need to have more women in decision making, you should join the liberal party and work your way up."
The students filmed the session and one posted the full video to YouTube, saying that Mr Abbott "avoids and waffles himself through" the questions.