Grilled on radio, Malcolm Turnbull has acknowledged people will often say things that are
Grilled on radio, Malcolm Turnbull has acknowledged people will often say things that are "hurtful and unfair and sometimes cruel” in any democratic debate, but "that is part of a debate”. LUKAS COCH

PM won't ban inaccurate posters

MALCOLM Turnbull has refused to ban anti-gay marriage signs put up in Melbourne that falsely claim most same-sex couples abuse their children.

The Prime Minister said the signs were "hurtful" but part of democratic debate when he was grilled about them in an interview with Melbourne 2DayFM radio hosts Em Rusciano and Harley Breen yesterday.

The signs urge Australians to "Stop The Fags" and claim 92% of children raised by gay parents are abused, 51% have depression and 72% are obese.

"We're in a democracy," Mr Turnbull told listeners.

"People will often say in any democratic debate, they'll often say things that are hurtful and unfair and sometimes cruel. That is part of a debate.

"The only way to stop people saying things that you find hurtful is to shut down free speech."

Mr Turnbull staunchly defended the democratic rights of both the "Yes" and "No" campaigns to contribute to public debate ahead of next month's postal plebiscite on same-sex marriage.

He said the debate should be respectful but his advice to people with friends who were distressed by the "hurtful" language was "stand up for them".

"Our society, the most successful multicultural society in the world, is built on a foundation of mutual respect," Mr Turnbull said.

"I deplore disrespectful abusive language, whether it is directed at young gay people or people of other religions or people of other races.

"Mutual respect and a respectful debate is what we should have in Australia."

The PM said he and wife Lucy would be voting "Yes" to legalised gay marriage.

"The threats to marriage are not gay people getting married. The threats are desertion, cruelty, neglect, abandonment, indifference," he said.

Mr Turnbull encouraged all Australians to vote in the ballot regardless of their views.

So far, more than 434,000 Australians have updated their enrolment information to vote, and an extra 36,769 people have been added to the electoral roll up to August 20.

The Australian Electoral Commission will accept enrolment detail updates until midnight tomorrow.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Greens senators have condemned the posters.

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