Australia: Liberal leader Tony Abbott rules out supporting equal marriage

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Australia’s opposition leader Tony Abbott says he will continue to side against equal marriage.

He told Sky News Australia: “Coalition party policy is that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Mr Abbott’s daughters Bridget, 20, and Frances, 21, gave an interview to News Limited last week and said they hoped and prayed that same-sex marriage would be legalised in Australia.

They said their views were strengthened by seeing their aunt, Mr Abbott’s youngest sister, Christine Forster fall in love with her partner Virginia Edwards.

However, Mr Abbott, the leader of Australia’s Liberal Party, has once again ruled out allowing his MPs a free vote on marriage equality.

“Now, if future party rooms decide that it is no longer party policy, well then, obviously, there won’t be a whipped vote, but it will be up to future party rooms to determine what the policy is,” Mr Abbott said on Sunday.

“While it’s party policy there’s no question of a conscience vote. It only becomes a free vote if there is no policy on the subject.”

Along with Mr Abbott, Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard continues to oppose equal marriage.

Efforts to legalise the measure failed in the Australian Parliament last year.