PM digs in on gay unions

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

TONY Ab­bott has kicked back against a cross- party push for same- sex mar­riage laws to be brought be­fore the Par­lia­ment next month.

As his own back­benchers pre­pare to in­tro­duce a cross- party Bill on mar­riage equal­ity, the Prime Min­is­ter has made clear the econ­omy and na­tional se­cu­rity are his pri­or­i­ties – not mar­riage re­form.

But a se­nior Lib­eral MP said the move could im­peril Mr Ab­bott’s lead­er­ship. If Mr Ab­bott did not al­low party mem­bers a con­science vote on the is­sue, “he would be back to where he was in Jan­uary”, ac­cord­ing to the source. Mr Ab­bott’s lead­er­ship hung by a thread at the be­gin­ning of this year, but a spill mo­tion in Fe­bru­ary was ul­ti­mately un­suc­cess­ful and no other con­tender de­clared their in­ten­tion.

The same- sex mar­riage Bill, drafted by Lib­er­als War­ren Ensch and Teresa Gam­baro and sec­onded by La­bor’s Terri But­ler, will not be brought on for de­bate, or even dis­cussed in the Coali­tion party rooms.

Mr Ab­bott re­minded his Coali­tion MPs that a pri­vate mem­ber’s Bill would not be dis­cussed in the joint party room un­less it was to be voted on in the Par­lia­ment.

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