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Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who advocated for legalizing same-sex marriage and continues to speak out about the need to combat climate change, will speak at the University of Colorado Boulder in March.

Turnbull will be hosted by the student-led Distinguished Speakers Board and has been on the group’s short list for several years, said board Chair Cameron Trauger. The event is free and open to the public.

Turnbull was prime minister from 2015-2018 and was part of the effort that led to Australia legalizing same-sex marriage in 2017. He continues to be politically active, and with increasing attention on the wildfires in Australia and climate change, student leaders wanted to bring his perspective to campus.

“We had a lot of discussion about how our political focus as Americans has historically been on American politics, and with the election process we’re going through right now we thought it would be interesting to bring in a global perspective,” Trauger said. “We’re hoping to get an international perspective that is unique to the things we’re going to be inundated with in the coming months.”

Turnbull recently opined in Time Magazine that climate change denial has “infected” politics in Australia and the United States and that “wicked, self-destructive idiocy of climate denialism must stop.” Turnbull called for drastic cuts to greenhouse gas emissions and to stop the use of coal and other fossil fuels.

Given the rising relevance of climate change and Australia’s devastating wildfires, there was an increase in student interest to bring Turnbull to campus, said board Spokesman Fernando Palafox.

The board votes on speakers to bring to campus and the selection process moves forward based on the speaker’s availability.

“Our mission is to promote discussion, particularly around topics that might have polarizing views,” Palafox said. “It’s about bringing these big perspectives and minds that open people’s viewpoints and way of looking at the world. So whether they agree with Turnbull or not, the process of thinking about it is a big learning experience and promotes a lot of insightful thought.”

If you go 

What: Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

When: 7 p.m. March 17

Where: Glenn Miller Ballroom, University Memorial Center, University of Colorado Boulder

Cost: Free, open to the public

More information:

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