Any changes to the Marriage Act with the current sitting Parliament look destined to fail, with reports Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has ruled out a conscience vote on the issue for Liberal MPs.
According to a story in The Australian newspaper this morning, Abbott has said no to a conscience vote on marriage equality even if Labor allows one.
An Abbott spokesman told the newspaper that the party’s policy opposed same-sex marriage.
“The Coalition’s policy is that marriage is between a man and a woman,” the spokesman said.
“We don’t have conscience votes on matters of policy.”
Over sixty supporters of marriage equality will converge on Parliament House tomorrow to lobby MPs, including Abbott.
Australian Marriage Equality national convener Alex Greenwich said the message of the marriage equality supporters will be that the issue is about people not politics.
“Tomorrow, MPs will be visited by a wide range of same-sex partners, their family members, clergy and other supporters of equality, and they will have a united message that marriage equality is about real people with real lives, not politics and political point-scoring,” Greenwich said.
As part of the lobbying day, it is hoped Abbott will meet some of his constituents who support marriage equality and their message to him will be that the Coalition must have a conscience vote if it’s to be true to its principles of individual conscience.
“A majority of Australians and a majority of Coalition voters support marriage equality and Coalition MPs should have the right to represent the views of these millions of voters,” Greenwich said.
“In denying his party a conscience vote, Mr Abbott is showing himself to be out of touch with the 75% of Coalition Voters who support a free vote.”
National spokesperson for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), Shelley Argent, will also be lobbying at Parliament House this week.
“Our children’s fundamental rights are at stake here and I think it’s quite inappropriate for Mr Abbott to be playing politics with this important reform,” she said.