Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declared he will sack any ministers who defy him and vote in favour of same-sex marriage.
A number same-sex marriage bills are heading to the Australian Parliament this month – but Liberal Prime Minister Tony Abbott – a strong opponent of same-sex marriage – has banned his coalition MPs from voting in favour.
It was confirmed yesterday that Abbott’s ruling coalition voted by 66 to 33 in favour of banning coalition MPs from voting for equality – ordering them to follow party line and oppose same-sex marriage.
However, the PM has now taken his threat even further – confirming that any ministers who vote in favour will be sacked.
He said: “It is… the standard position of our party that if a frontbencher cannot support the party’s policy, that person has to leave the frontbench.
He added: “Obviously our backbenchers are entitled to vote in the end, whichever way they want.
“I would be disappointed if they went against the party position but nevertheless we have always accepted that in the end all votes in our party room for backbenchers at least are conscience votes
Labor leader Bill Shorten has slammed Mr Abbott for his position on the issue.
Mr Shorten reacted: “Millions of Australians will have woken up this morning bitterly disappointed with Tony Abbott.”
“The choice in this country is clear – you either have Tony Abbott or you have marriage equality, you can’t have both.”
Following the revelation, Labor MP Tim Watts tossed out his carefully prepared speech to lay into the government.