Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer has said she opposes marriage equality because she is yet to be convinced the Marriage Act should be changed.
Speaking at a press conference in Toorak last week, the Higgins MP said she had consulted with her electorate on the issue.
“I received a lot of feedback from people who believe very strongly on both sides of the debate,” O’Dwyer said.
“I’m not yet convinced there’s a need to change the Marriage Act. I remain to be convinced on this, so my view at this point in time is the case has not yet been made.”
In August this year O’Dwyer told the Star Observer her personal views on same-sex marriage were not settled and she was still “reflecting” on the issue, despite outwardly rejecting change in a 2009 ABC Radio interview.
In that interview, following her election, O’Dwyer said she “believes that marriage is between a man and a woman”.
Answering questions from reporters last week, O’Dwyer hinted she backed Liberal frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull’s calls for Coalition MPs to be granted a conscience vote on the issue.
“Backbenchers are entitled to vote on their conscience in the Liberal Party. There is no reason for any member of the Liberal Party not to vote according to their conscience, they do not get expelled,” she said.
“We are a broad church in the Liberal Party. We have slightly different views on [this] particular issue, but I do think if people have deeply held views … they should be able to express that.”
Turnbull was with O’Dwyer to launch the Higgins charity Christmas Gift-Giving Program.
Turnbull said he would make his views known on same-sex marriage when legislation is before Parliament.
“I’ve not said that I would vote in favour of it. I’ve never advocated gay marriage in the past,” he said.
“When I state my position on this legislation is when the legislation’s presented.
“I’ll state my position and vote in accordance with that position, subject to whether we have a conscience vote or not and make my reason known at the time.”