Senate Calls for Prime Minister to Allow Conscience Vote


The Australian Senate has called on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to allow all Coalition members a conscience vote on marriage equality.

A motion put forward by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young read:

  • “That the Senate agrees that all members of Parliament and senators should be granted a conscience vote on the issue of equal marriage in Australia.”

Senator Hanson-Young, who is The Greens LGBTI spokesperson said it was time the Prime Minister allowed MPs to vote with their conscience.

“The Senate has told Tony Abbott it’s time he stopped gagging his members and gave them a free vote on marriage equality,” Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“Most Australians understand that there is no room for discrimination in Australia and they’re just waiting for Tony Abbott to catch up.

“The Greens are ready to work with anyone from any political party to get marriage equality over the line.

“In passing this motion, the Senate’s message to the Prime Minister is clear; get on with it and stop delaying this essential reform.”

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, welcomed the motion.

“Tony Abbott has been sent a direct message by the Senate to allow a free vote so marriage equality can move forward.”

“Before the election he promised the Liberal/National party room would be able to debate a marriage equality free vote and it’s high time he fulfilled that promise.”

“It borders on the absurd that we have the Liberal and National parties – parties that say they are champions of individual freedom – not allowing a free vote and not even supporting a motion calling for one.” Croome said.

Croome said it is deeply embarrassing to many Australians that same-sex marriages are allowed in Alabama but not Australia.

“When you’re human rights record is worse than Alabama’s you know you’re in trouble.”

“If, as seems likely, Ireland endorses marriage equality in a referendum in May, Australia will be the only developed, English-speaking country without the reform.”

OIP Staff