Labor frontbencher Penny Wong believes Australia is edging towards allowing gay marriage as pressure mounts on Tony Abbott to allow his MPs a conscience vote.
New Senate crossbencher David Leyonhjelm has flagged he will introduce a private member’s bill to legalise same-sex marriage and is urging the prime minister to let his colleagues vote however they want.
Senator Leyonhjelm’s intervention comes as new polling shows support for same sex marriage is at an all-time high.
The Crosby Texter poll published by Fairfax on Tuesday has backing for gay marriage at 72 per cent. And 77 per cent believe coalition MPs should get a conscience vote on the issue.
The openly gay Senator Wong says Australia is moving closer to same-sex marriage after numerous attempts were defeated in the former parliament.
She says Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek has also flagged introducing a private member’s bill on gay marriage.
However, any bill’s success was contingent on Mr Abbott allowing a conscience vote for coalition MPs.
‘We don’t want this to fail again – we want a debate which has the capacity of a bill passing, and marriage equality being achieved,’ Senator Wong told ABC radio.
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young says with public support for gay marriage so strong it’s time for parliament to act.
‘It’s time for Tony Abbott to join the majority of Australians and allow his members a conscience vote,’ she said in a statement.