AFTER the fall out of yesterday’s Coalition party room decision to reject a free vote on marriage equality, one Queensland Liberal MP who had thrown his support behind a conscience vote has announced he won’t be advocating for same-sex marriage based on the results of an electorate poll.
Bowman federal Liberal MP Andrew Laming, who has had a history of openly challenging Prime Minister Tony Abbott, told parliament today that the results of his electorate survey on marriage equality had been finalised, despite votes still being counted.
[showads ad=MREC]When announcing his survey, Laming said it was his goal to canvass voters in his seat in order to determine his position on the issue and vote accordingly if a free vote were granted.
“It’s a personal conscience issue and not a party political one, so [the difference] about same-sex marriage is that I’m prepared to reflect my electorate’s conscience whatever the outcome of the survey,” Laming told the Star Observer in July.
Speaking in parliament earlier today, Laming said the voters of Bowman had voted to keep marriage between a man and a woman with a 58 per cent majority.
The Star Observer was informed earlier this week that results from Laming’s poll would not be finalised until late August. Laming today said votes were still being counted but he was satisfied enough with the emerging “no” result to declare the result.
“Though we continue receiving and counting ballots, the trend is absolutely flat lining,” he told the Star Observer.
“There has only been two days where the yeses outnumbered the nos. It is now a fixed ratio so we are comfortable to call.”
On a post to his social media, Laming said he would be happy to allow the public to access the votes and ask any questions to remove any doubts about the result.
News of Laming’s electoral survey comes on the back of Flynn federal Nationals MP Ken O’Dowd’s similar marriage equality electoral poll, where questions were raised about the conduct of vote counting and treatment.
Bennelong federal Liberal MP John Alexander, whose electorate covers much of the Ryde council area of Sydney, has also been conducting an survey on marriage equality.
A spokesperson told the Star Observer that Alexander’s surveys were still coming in and not to expect a result “any time soon”.
“At this stage Mr Alexander has not decided that results from any parts of his survey will be made public,” the spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, Laming has also spoken in favour of the Prime Minister’s intentions of considering a plebiscite on marriage equality as one that would lead to a sooner outcome.
“The Coalition binding vote terminates at the end of this Parliamentary term and we have announced an intention for a plebiscite after the next election, which Labor opposes,” he said.
“Their MP-only strategy is likely to get bogged in the Senate so long as election results are close.”
(Image source: ABC News)[showads ad=FOOT]