NA­TION Gay vow Lib MPs ramp up stand- off

Townsville Bulletin - - NATION - SHARRI MARK­SON KYLAR LOUSSIKIAN

A GROUP of rene­gade fed­eral Lib­eral MPs are plot­ting to sus­pend Par­lia­men­tary stand­ing or­ders and in­tro­duce their own pri­vate mem­ber’s bill to pass gay mar­riage leg­is­la­tion in Australia.

Lib­eral MPs Tim Wil­son, Trent Zim­mer­man, Cairns­based War­ren Entsch, Dean Smith and Trevor Evans are dis­cussing a plan to wrest con­trol of Par­lia­men­tary business from the Turnbull Gov­ern­ment in or­der to in­tro­duce their own same- sex mar­riage bill to Par­lia­ment and call a con­science vote on it.

The MPs do not see this as “cross­ing the floor” to vote with La­bor on the issue and say it is a bet­ter path than al­low­ing the Op­po­si­tion to sus­pend stand­ing or­ders.

Mr Wil­son, whose ac­tivism on the issue will see him chal­lenged by the Right fac­tion in his seat of Gold­stein, yes­ter­day con­firmed the op­tion was un­der con­sid­er­a­tion.

“I have con­sis­tently ruled out vot­ing for a La­bor mo­tion to sus­pend stand­ing or­ders or a La­bor bill,” Mr Wil­son said.

“I have not ruled out sup­port­ing a Lib­eral mo­tion or a Lib­eral bill, and am cur­rently con­sult­ing with my com­mu­nity, my party and my col­leagues”.

Min­is­ters yes­ter­day were un­clear on whether they would be bound by Gov­ern­ment pol­icy of a plebiscite, or would be free to ex­er­cise their right to par­take sci­ence vote.

The move could ren­der re­dun­dant any con­sen­sus on a plebiscite or postal plebiscite reached in Tues­day’s party room meet­ing where the issue will, once again, be de­bated by mem­bers.

NSW MPs from the Par­lia­men­tary Work­ing Group on Mar­riage Equal­ity have penned a let­ter to Lib­eral MPs show­ing the his­tory where 20 gov­ern­ment MPs and 10 cur­rent Cab­i­net min­is­ters have crossed the floor dur­ing their ca­reer.

Se­nior Lib­er­als who are op­posed to gay mar­riage say that if Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turnbull does all he can to up­hold the pol­icy of a plebiscite, then his lead­er­ship would be safe from a spill mo­tion.

How­ever, if he is seen in any way to per­mit a con­science vote on the issue, then there is a plan for a Right fac­tion MP to call a spill mo­tion.

Sev­eral Lib­eral MPs who sup­port gay mar­riage said yes­ter­day they firmly did not sup­port hold­ing a free vote.

They were highly con­cerned that pass­ing gay mar­riage leg­is­la­tion would re­sult in Lib­eral vot­ers de­sert­ing the Turnbull Gov­ern­ment for con­ser­va­tive fringe groups.

Mr Turnbull yes­ter­day re­it­er­ated that the Gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy was a plebiscite.

“Our propo­si­tion was there would be a free vote on same- sex mar­riage in the Par­lia­ment if the Aus­tralian peo­ple ap­proved of it in a plebiscite,” he said. in a con-

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