Australia’s opposition leader is suggesting his party will decide its position on equal marriage after the next election.

Liberal leader Tony Abbott has prevented his MPs from having a conscience vote on the issue.

He remains opposed to marriage equality and says it should be “between a man and a woman”.

But he added: “our position, my position, going into the next election is that what our policy is on this will be a matter for the post election party room.

“I’m not trying to say that the party is committed forever and a day to the current position.”

Australia heads to the polls on 14 September 2013.

Earlier this week, Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, responded to neighbouring New Zealand’s decision to legalise marriage equality by confirming that she remains opposed to the measure.

Gay rights campaigners in Australia have praised New Zealand after it became the 13th country to legalise equal marriage, but have blasted their own lawmakers for failing to adopt the policy at home.

Efforts to legalise marriage equality failed in the Australian Parliament last year.