OPPOSITION Leader Bill Shorten has pledged to legislate same-sex marriage in his first 100 days if he is elected as prime minister at the next Federal Election.
At the Australian Labor Party (ALP) National Conference over the weekend, Shorten maintained that federal Labor MPs will be given a conscience vote on marriage equality for the next two terms of government.
[showads ad=MREC]If it isn’t legalised over the next two terms, Labor MPs and senators will be bound to vote in favour of same-sex marriage after the 2019 Federal Election.
The decision came after the ALP’s left faction split over the issue of a binding vote or a conscience vote.
“What the Labor Party does with this resolution is we lay down the challenge to Mr Abbott and his Liberals,” Shorten said at the conference.
“Please give your members of parliament a free vote so we can make marriage equality a reality now.”
A spokesperson for Rainbow Labor told the Star Observer that the current Prime Minister should allow a conscience vote as soon as possible.
“Tony Abbott should stop blocking a free vote in the Liberal Party and allow the Parliament to discuss and debate this issue openly, respectfully, and fully,” the spokesperson said.
“If he allows a free vote, we will have marriage equality passed into law by Christmas.”
Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome believes that by deciding not to bind its MPs to vote in favour of same-sex marriage, the ALP has increased pressure on Abbott to ensure Coalition MPs are not bound to vote against it.
“We urge supporters of marriage equality in the Coalition to carry the issue forward in their party room,” Croome said.
“We believe marriage equality is achievable in this term of government through a cross-party conscience vote.
“We urge the Prime Minister to stick to his pre-election commitment of allowing the party room to debate a free vote.”
Rainbow Labor’s spokesperson maintained they were positive change would come: “Support for marriage equality is growing every day and we have no doubt that this groundswell in the community will overwhelm those who are fighting against it.”
During the conference discussion on marriage equality, South Australian Labor Senator Penny Wong received a standing ovation for her address.
She described the day in 2011 when Labor Party voted to put a commitment to marriage equality in its platform as her proudest moment in the party.
“Marriage equality is a campaign of hope. It is a campaign of justice. It is a campaign of equality but most of all delegates – and this is why we will win – it is a campaign for those we love,” she said.
Watch her speech in full here: