Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull dashes hopes of conscience vote on gay marriage
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has shot down rumours that his party would allow a conscience vote on same-sex marriage.
Turnbull, a proponent of a costly public vote, or plebiscite on same-sex marriage, shot down rumours from within his own party that it may have changed its stance on allowing MPs to vote on the issue.
Leaked audio from senior minister Christopher Pyne released this week heard him saying that same-sex marriage would be delivered “sooner than anyone thinks”.
Liberal senator Dean Smith also told HuffPost Australia that he had been pushing the government to do away with the idea of a plebiscite and to allow a vote in parliament.
Then on Tuesday Smith and a Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman had been working on a bill to legalise same-sex marriage.
But Turnbull told 3AW Radio on Tuesday: “We are not going to change our policy.”
He added: “The party’s policy and the Government’s policy is clear. We will not support a vote on gay marriage in the Parliament until there has been a plebiscite, which every Australian gets the opportunity to vote, and that plebiscite is voted yes for gay marriage.”
Turnbull also blamed opposition leader Bill Shorten for the delay in putting forward a date for the public vote.
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He said: “We made a commitment at the last election that we would have a plebiscite. All the polls would suggest there is a strong majority in favour of gay marriage, in which case there would, if Shorten had supported the plebiscite, it would have been voted on, approved and passed into law by now.
“So the person that those who are disappointed about the gay marriage issue not being resolved should be going after is Bill Shorten, not me, not Christopher Pyne.”
Right-wing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull refuses to permit a free Parliamentary vote on equal marriage, while pro-LGBT opposition parties ensured the defeat of plans to put proposals to a public vote.
And he caused controversy when he urged people not to condemn anti-gay tennis star Margaret Court for her views, and instead celebrate her tennis achievements.