NATION Gay vow Lib MPs ramp up stand- off
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-