Australian MPs accused of ‘plotting’ to avoid vote on equal marriage

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A number of Australian MPs opposed to marriage equality have been accused of a “plot” to stop the issue coming to a vote.

Australia is currently under pressure over its continued ban on same-sex marriage, with a surge in popular support for equality following victory for same-sex marriage in the Republic of Ireland.

Tony Abbott’s governing Coalition remains largely opposed and continues to hold up progress – and Labor leader Bill Shorten recently introduced an opposition same-sex marriage bill, attempting to force Mr Abbott’s hand on the issue.

However, opponents of the measure are reportedly now trying to use Parliamentary tricks to avoid a vote entirely – rather than allowing the public to see it openly voted down.

According to the Australian Daily Telegraph, a group of MPs from both the Liberal and opposition Labor party are trying to prevent the bill from getting to a vote in the House of Representatives.

A Labor MP who was not named told the newspaper that “talks” had been held with Coalition MPs opposed to equality – and that there was a movement looking for “alternatives” including civil partnerships.

Rodney Croome of Australian Marriage Equality said: “If it’s true some MPs are plotting to undermine marriage equality with underhand tricks, it shows they have lost faith in their case and in their capacity to win majority support.

“If there is any attempt by a cabal of nay-sayers to thwart the will of the majority of Australians, party leaders will be held accountable for failing to rein them in.

“Our challenge to opponents of reform is play fair, and not block the parliament from its duty to debate a reform that is important to millions of Australians.”

Mr Shorten said previously: “It is within our power to change this. This parliament can change a law that no longer describes modern Australia … and pass a law of which we can all be proud.

“Let us delay no more. Let us embrace a definition of marriage that respects, values and includes every Australian. Let us declare, in the house of the Australian people – it is time. The right time to make marriage equality a reality.”