FEDERAL Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has announced the Labor Party will introduce a private member’s bill to make marriage equality for LGBTI people legal.

On the first day of the new Parliament, Labor gave notice of a marriage equality bill which could come through in the next few days during suspension orders or during private members’ time.

Cross-bench MPs the Greens’ Adam Bandt and Independents Cathy McGowan and Adam Wilkie also announced plans to introduce a cross-party marriage equality bill.

Labor’s decision to introduce a private member’s bill comes amid growing pressure to follow in the footsteps of the Greens and Nick Xenophon Team parties to block legislation allowing a plebiscite to go ahead.

It also comes after former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s chief of staff Peta Credlin explained how Shorten could force a parliamentary vote on marriage equality, bypassing a need for a plebiscite on the issue.

Credlin told Andrew Bolt on his Sky News program that if a private member’s bill was to be introduced into the Senate, it would likely pass.

“Then the bill would be returned down to the house,” Cradling said.

“In ordinary time it would not come on for debate because the government controls the agenda. It’s always within the gift of the opposition to try and suspend standing orders. If you successfully suspend standing orders, you require an absolute majority, not a simple majority, that is 76.

“If you can suspend standing orders you then win the right to bring on anything for a vote.”

“By my reckoning you’re looking at three people to cross the floor in order to make the suspension stand. Usually two, but I’d count Bob Katter as someone who would support the government on this, so he would transfer from the non-government members to the government members.”

The three MPs who would face public pressure to cross the floor would be the Liberal Party’s three openly gay MPs, Trent Zimmerman, Tim Wilson and Trent Evans. All three have said they would support their party’s position to hold a plebiscite in the lead-up to the federal election.

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