Conservatives warn Turnbull to stick to plebiscite policy

Conservative members of the government are reportedly putting pressure on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to make sure he doesn’t change the party’s commitment to a plebiscite on marriage equality.

A report in The Daily Telegraph suggests that conservative MPs are working hard to make sure a push for a free vote on marriage equality from more moderate MPs is not given any attention.

The story says a group of twelve MPs were planning to send a letter to the Prime Minister early next week arguing that the government needs to address the issue of marriage equality before the federal budget.

The politicians are worried that as long as the marriage equality debate drags out it will continue to be a thorn in the side of the government, and stop them from successfully selling Treasurer Scott Morrison’s upcoming budget.

Liberal MPs Tim Wilson, Trent Zimmerman and ­Warren Entsch are named as those among the group pushing for action on the issue.

It is suggested that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is considering allowing debate on proposed changes to the racial discrimination act, and if breaks that election commitment, he will also have to concede the commitment to the plebiscite policy.

However another report in The Sydney Morning Herald suggests that moderate MPs may have already abandoned their plan.

“There is no pathway at this stage,” one supportive MP told Fairfax Media. “We’re constantly trying to find a way. There isn’t the momentum to convince the party room.”

Polls have shown that support for marriage equality remains high, with two thirds of Australians wanting the laws to be modernised.

Last week 20 prominent business leaders wrote to the Prime Minister arguing for marriage equality. The letter prompted Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to publicly chastise business leaders who say the government should allow a free vote. Dutton is acknowledged as a leading voice of the party’s conservative wing.

OIP Staff

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