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Australia's Ruling Party Blocks Parliament Marriage Vote

Australia's Ruling Party Blocks Parliament Marriage Vote

"We urge Liberals who support marriage equality to table marriage equality legislation and cross the floor to vote for it".

But the government's most senior law officer, Attorney-General George Brandis, said the postal plebiscite would likley legalise same-sex marriage.

Co-chair Alex Greenwich says the government's approach to marriage equality has gone "well beyond a joke". He explained that a vote in parliament will be the result of a postal vote if Aussies supported same sex marriage.

Mr McLennan warned the process could further damage the ABS, which came under fire past year for its handling of the national census and said he had heard "alarm bells" upon learning of the government's plans.

The postal ballot will be run under the auspices of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which will have Australian Electoral Commission officers seconded to it.

The Liberal Party held a crisis meeting late Monday to resolve infighting and rejected a push to allow lawmakers to decide the issue now.

Cabinet minister Mathias Cormann says the government has advice there is a "legal and constitutional" way forward on the postal vote, but the specifics are a matter for the joint party room which will meet on Tuesday. The opposition of the gay community was a decisive consideration in Labor's voting against the plebiscite legislation when it was in parliament initially.

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Finding agreement on the issue is a test of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's authority over his government, which holds a single-seat majority in the House of Representatives. If the Senate rejects the measure, the government would then hold a voluntary postal vote, with the votes due back by mid-November, at a cost of $97 million.

Mr Entsch told The Courier-Mail last night he was willing to let the plebiscite process play out, if it was given a definitive time frame, but he "reserved his rights" with regards to a free vote.

The leader of the Labor opposition party, Mr Bill Shorten, who supports same-sex marriage, said that holding a plebiscite was "ridiculous".

"I'm profoundly disappointed that we weren't able to do it now because I think the issue will continue to drag on", he said. Leader senator Cory Bernardi says: "The Australian Conservatives are the only party that has a policy to maintain marriage in its current form". The government on Tuesday endorsed the party decision to ask the Senate this week to reconsider allowing the plebiscite, which would be held November 25. He added, "I'm a strong leader".

If the Senate again blocks the plebiscite, the government intends to hold a voluntary postal plebiscite by November 15.

"This is more about the fear and naivety of non-gay people than anything to do with the problem of gay marriage".

The firm recently acted pro bono in what's being described as a landmark decision of the UN Human Rights Committee, which found that Australia must give access to its divorce mechanisms to same-sex couples who married overseas.


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