Openly gay South Australian MLC Ian Hunter says he is pessimistic about the future of a same-sex marriage private bill due to be voted on in federal Parliament.

The Labor member told ABC radio yesterday he believed the bill would most likely fail unless Coalition MPs were given a conscience vote.

“If the Liberals aren’t given a conscience vote, which I think is pretty strange, then I don’t think the numbers will be there to carry it in the first iteration,” Hunter told ABC radio.

“But like many of these so-called social issues, they really are justice and equality issues, it might take one or two attempts to get it past the Parliament.

“It will pass and probably within the next decade, but I couldn’t tell you when.”

Rather than waiting for change in Australia, Hunter said he and his partner, Leith, will instead head over to Spain to marry in Madrid in around 12 months time.

“No, I don’t want to wait around until I’m 75, frankly,” he said.

“So I’m taking my friends and my family away with me and we’ll do the deed in Madrid.”

“ I think we’ll have to run this up the flagpole two or three times. And maybe we’ll have to wait for some of the old, crusty, conservative MPs to retire from Parliament and be replaced by young, crusty, conservatives who actually don’t have the same problems with gay marriage that the older ones do.”

Hunter, who has introduced a same-sex marriage bill in his home state, said he wants federal parliamentarians to act for change.

“I did that to actually push the issue along. And so it’s a good tactic, but at the end of the day I don’t want to have separate rules in different jurisdictions that gets very messy.

“And if it’s about equality then we should all be equal under the one bill.”