Just two frontbench ministers bothered to turn up to Australian equal marriage debate
Just two Australian government frontbenchers dared to show their face as a same-sex marriage bill was introduced today.
A number of same-sex marriage bills are set to come before the Australian Parliament this month, but anti-gay marriage PM Tony Abbott failed to afford a free vote for his MPs – binding them to vote against equality.
He also declared he will sack any ministers who defy him and vote in favour of same-sex marriage.
Liberal backbencher Warren Entsch introduced a bill today, which is expected to fail. Nearly the entire opposition Labor frontbench was present, including pro-equal marriage leader Bill Shorten.
However, just two frontbench government ministers – Christopher Pyne and Malcolm Turnbull – dared to turn up to watch the bill be introduced.
The pair have publicly feuded with Mr Abbott over his approach. Mr Turnbull has said that a proposed public vote should be held before the next election – while Mr Abbott is attempting to kick it into the long grass and hold it after 2017.
After the bill was introduced, debate was adjourned.
A new poll will make sombre reading for Mr Abbott.
The Fairfax/Ipsos poll found that nationally, 69 percent of people are in support of same-sex marriage – which appears to be so high that any mooted plebiscite would be effectively redundant. Just 25 percent of Australians now oppose same-sex marriage.
Worse news for Mr Abbott – who is a year-and-a-half away from a key election – is that his approach also goes down badly with his own voters.
53 percent of voters for his Liberal-National Coalition supported same-sex marriage, with just 40 percent opposed – meaning that Mr Abbott is putting off his own supporters over the issue.
More: Australia, Australia, civil partnership, civil union, equal marriage, frontbench, Gay, gay weddings, Government, lesbian, lesbian wedding, LGBT, marriage, marriage equality, politicians, Politics, same sex weddings, Tony Abbott, Union, wedding