Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten moves towards legalising same-sex marriage

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

File photo of Bill Shorten, 2015.
Image: Nick-D.

Australian Labor leader Bill Shorten announced today, they will present a private bill to Parliament next Monday to legalise same-sex marriage, with the support of deputy leader Tanya Plibersek.

This move towards same-sex marriage follows the Greens' initial announcement this morning, saying they planned senate debate of a marriage equality bill in June.

Bill Shorten announced his plan to bring same-sex marriage to Australia through a statement, saying, "I have given notice that I will move a Private members Bill in the House of Representatives on Monday which will finally bring about marriage equality in Australia".

The Irish referendum which saw a majority of voting citizens support same-sex marriage over the weekend has brought the issue back to the front of public debate In Australia.

On the possibility of a similar process in Australia, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, "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."

In order for the bill to pass through Parliament, votes are not only needed from the Labor party, but also the Coalition MPs. Tony Abbott has said it is up to the Coalition party room whether MPs will be permitted to have a conscience vote, rather than being required to vote their parties' position.

Talking about the effect the private bill will have, along with the freedom to vote, Bill Shorten says, "It will challenge the deeply held personal beliefs of MPs and senators on both sides of politics. This is why Labor members have the freedom to vote their conscience, a freedom Tony Abbott is currently denying his party."