Australian PM refuses to budge on equal marriage despite pleas from business leaders

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has reaffirmed his opposition to passing same-sex marriage without a public vote beforehand.

Proponents of equal marriage in Australia suffered a major setback last year when attempts to reach a cross-party deal on the issue were derailed.

Right-wing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull refuses to permit a free Parliamentary vote on equal marriage, while pro-LGBT opposition parties ensured the defeat of plans to put proposals to a public vote.

This week, 20 heads of some of Australia’s largest companies penned a letter to Turnbull urging him to allow a free vote on the issue in Parliament.

However, the PM – who is thought to have made assurances to his Coalition’s anti-LGBT wing against any such move during his leadership bid – rebuffed any change.

Mr Turnbull told reporters: “Our policy on this is well-known, which we took to the election [last year].

“There should be a plebiscite on the issue first.

“The Labor Party has frustrated that by opposing it in the Senate, despite the fact that Mr Shorten only three years ago gave his very public and vocal support for a plebiscite which would give every Australians a say on the matter.”

Meanwhile, Turnbull’s immigration minister Peter Dutton attacked business leaders for shoving “politically correct nonsense down our throats”.

In a radio interview he said: “If they want to run for politics, well resign from their position and stick their hand up at the next election but don’t jam your politically correct views down our throats”.

Ivan Hinton-Teoh of just.equal said: “All Australians should be free to voice their views and lobby politicians, including those business leaders who support marriage equality.

“Many CEOs recognise the importance of equality for their employees and customers and have a right to represent that to law-makers.

“It’s not appropriate for a Government minister to attempt to shut down views he doesn’t agree with.”

The country has been debating marriage equality for more than 13 years. In that time every other English speaking western nation has had the debate, achieved the reform and moved on.”

“In the absence of political movement on marriage equality it’s only right that community members who find themselves in positions of power and influence use it to raise the issue, standing with the majority of Australians who wish the reform to pass.”