Australian politicians rule out same-sex marriage referendum

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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is among the politicians to rule out a referendum on same-sex marriage.

After the Republic of Ireland voted overwhelmingly in favour of same-sex marriage, Mr Abbot was quick to rule out the possibility of a similar vote happening in Australia.

He said: “Questions of marriage are the preserve of the Commonwealth Parliament.

“Referendums are held in this country where there’s a proposal to change the constitution.

“I don’t think anyone is suggesting the constitution needs to be changed in this respect.”

Mr Abbott has always been resolutely anti-same sex marriage, despite his sister being in a same-sex relationship.

Opposition Bill Shorten is pro same-sex marriage but also thinks a referendum is not the way to bring it about. He called on Mr Abbott to push for same-sex marriage in parliament.

He said: “If the Irish people can vote in favour of marriage equality, the question has to be asked, what is Tony Abbott’s problem with it?

“Most places in the world are dealing with marriage equality, why is Tony Abbott stopping Australia becoming a more modern nation.”

Mr Shorten has previously said he would not force his MPs to vote for same-sex marriage.