AUSTRALIA: After meeting for two hours in an emergency session, the Liberal Party of Australia have agreed to stick with their election commitment to hold a public plebiscite on the issue of marriage equality.
Following reports that Senator Dean Smith, and four other lower house MPs would cross the floor if allowed a free vote on the issue, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recalled his party a day before parliament was due to resume to decide how they would move forward on the issue.
Emerging reports reveal that of the 83 Liberal MPs and Senators who met today, just seven MPs wanted to change their policy to allow a free vote. 27 members spoke in favour of retaining their plebiscite policy.
On their last attempt, the government’s plebiscite bill was defeated in the upper house by The Greens, Labor, Nick Xenophon Team and Senator Derryn Hinch. None of these MPs have indicated their minds have changed on the matter.
It is understood that the government would move ahead with Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s proposed plan to hold a postal vote.
Speaking to media this afternoon, Senator Matias Cormann said the government will maintain their commitment to give all Australians a say on the issue.
“The government’s intention is to put the plebiscite bill that was defeated in the Senate last year back before the senate and ask them to reconsider.”