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No same-sex marriage law until at least 2016

Getty

Getty

There will be no parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage before the next election, according to one of Malcolm Turnbull’s closest advisors.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, Alan Tudge, told Sky News on Thursday evening that legislation to change the Marriage Act would only be voted on after a plebiscite, slated to occur following the 2016 election.

Earlier on Thursday, backbench Liberal MP Warren Entsch pushed a plan to make parliament vote on the changes before the next election and the plebiscite.

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Mr Entsch hoped the plebiscite would ratify a “Yes” vote from the parliament, but that possibility was played down.

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Mr Abetz was scathing of Mr Entsch’s plan on Thursday. Photo: ABC

Turnbull’s advisor Mr Tudge said politicians would be expected to vote for the decision of the people in a plebiscite, even though this type of vote is not technically binding.

He indicated that even he, someone against same-sex marriage, would vote to change the marriage definition if the Australian people supported it.

Conservative Liberal Senator Eric Abetz described Mr Entsch’s push as a “thought-bubble” and an “ambush” on the parliament.

Prime Minister Turnbull said the details of the national vote were yet to be decided by cabinet.

“The mechanics for that plebiscite will be the subject of careful consideration by cabinet and then consideration by the party room,” Mr Turnbull said.

But there should be no doubt that if a $150 million plebiscite passed, same-sex marriage would become legal, he said.

“It is clear. Every Australian will get a vote and that vote will be respected, and if the vote is carried, it will become law.”

Interestingly, before elected PM, Mr Turnbull indicated he did not think a plebiscite was needed on the matter.

Mr Enstch initially tried to trigger a parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage earlier this year.

Those efforts resulted in Tony Abbott calling a marathon meeting of the Coalition Party room to decide its position on changing the Marriage Act.

It is believed Mr Abbott took the unusual step of including the more conservative Nationals in the process in order to garner more anti-gay marriage votes.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who promised to legislate same-sex marriage within 100 days of a Labor government taking office, feared a plebiscite could be socially divisive.

“I don’t think that is a genie we should let out of the bottle, where a whole lot of people are able to stigmatise each other.”

– with AAP

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