The conservative side of politics is grappling with whether government MPs should be allowed to have a free vote on marriage equality. Tony Abbott cast doubt on the idea after the bill was revealed when a spokesperson said “It is rare for a private members’ bill to be voted on and any bill would be subject to the usual process. The prime minister’s position remains the same as it has always been and he supports the current policy that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
A pending vote would trigger Coalition party room debate on the issue and open up the possibility of a free vote. NSW Liberal senator Arthur Sinodinos told Sky News the cross-party bill was “finally bringing the issue to a head”. Without a free vote, government ministers would be required to back the party’s existing position or expected to resign from the ministry if they wanted to support the bill.
Labor leader Bill Shorten attempted to introduce a private member’s bill last month in the wake of Ireland’s referendum, but it failed. Read More