Challenger to Australian PM would still insist on public vote on gay marriage

The Liberal who is challenging Tony Abbott’s leadership, has said he would still call a public vote on same-sex marriage.

Malcolm Turnbull announced that he would challenge Mr Abbott’s leadership earlier today.

The Liberal PM, who is a strong opponent of same-sex marriage, threatened to sack any ministers who voted for same-sex marriage when it was set to come to a vote last month.

He later moved to avert a showdown with his own MPs over the issue, by proposing a plebiscite (public vote) instead and avoiding a Parliamentary debate.

But despite Mr Abbott having received criticism for his stance on same-sex marriage, it appears that Mr Turnbull holds the same views on a plebiscite.

Souces close to the challenger, told the Star Observer that he would stick with the “party position on a plebiscite on marriage equality”, if he is successful at tonight’s ballot.

Mr Abbott has said he wants to lock in a vote after the next federal election in 2017 – which means same-sex weddings will likely not begin for a number of years, thanks to his political manoeuvring.

However, equality activists aren’t taking the slight lying down – with a campaign launching to send a thousand rainbow-coloured potatoes to the PM.