Turnbull Calls Emergency Party Meeting To Debate Same-Sex Marriage


same-sex marriage issue
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks during a press conference with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key at Government House in Auckland on 17 October 2015. Turnbull is in New Zealand to conduct bilateral talks with John Key on his first overseas trip as Australian prime minister. AFP Photo / Fiona Goodall (Photo credit should read Fiona GOODALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called an emergency meeting of the Liberal Party to debate the same-sex marriage issue.

Liberal MPs have been summoned to Canberra on Monday afternoon for the special meeting, with a group of moderates expected to push for the party to dump the plebiscite policy altogether and adopt a free vote.

Advertisements

It is understood the Coalition partner the National Party will also debate the issue at a meeting in Rockhampton today.

Both meetings are an opportunity for MPs to express their views on the best option for dealing with the long-running issue.

Some Liberals are not ruling out trying to bring on a vote in Parliament within weeks, but others insist strongly the Coalition must stick to its pledge to have a plebiscite.

Liberal MPs will also discuss the option of a voluntary postal vote on same-sex marriage.

Queensland Liberal MP Warren Entsch has welcomed Monday’s meeting and wants the Liberal Party to make its own decision on marriage equality even if it runs contrary to that of their coalition partners.

But Mr Turnbull has already rejected that option.

“Any issue can be discussed in the Liberal party room and the joint party room … but of course coalition policy is ultimately determined in the coalition party room,” he said.

Meanwhile, Senator Derryn Hinch says that if the Turnbull government makes another attempt to get its same-sex marriage plebiscite through the Senate, he and the three Nick Xenophon Team senators will block it, just as they did last time.

“The plebiscite did not get through the Senate, so with everything else like Gonski or whatever, you come back with a Plan B,” he said.

“The Plan B should be give them a free vote, and I tell you if they bring up the plebiscite again, if they bring the plebiscite to the Senate again, Xenophon and I will knock it down.

“If they bring a postal plebiscite to the Senate we’ll knock it down. Give them a free vote.”