PM's sister, Christine Forster, calls for free vote on marriage equality
The Prime Minister’s sister, City of Sydney Councillor Christine Forster, has called for a free vote on marriage equality as the PM continues to cast doubts over debate on a private members’ bill in support of same-sex marriage.
Speaking to Fairfax Media, Forster, who is a supporter of gay marriage said: "The cross-party private member's bill needs to be listed for debate in the parliament, which would in turn trigger discussion within the party room. If that doesn't happen, it's my view the issue needs to be raised for debate in the party room.”
Conversely the PM continues to claim it is unlikely the cross party private members’ bill to recognise same-sex marriage will come before Parliament. The bill is set to be moved by Coalition MP Warren Entsch and seconded by Labor's Terri Butler when Parliament resumes in August.
Speaking to reporters Abbott said “anyone can bring a private members' bill before the Parliament, but it's rare that they get voted on”.
The PM claimed in his two decades of being in Parliament, he has only ever seen private members’ bills voted on two or three times.
Abbott went on to tell reporters the Government had more important issues to focus on.
"The other point I want to make is that this Government was elected to grow jobs, to promote a stronger economy, to secure our nation against the various challenges that we face at home and abroad and that's what we're doing."
"We're getting on with the job that we're elected to do and as far as I'm concerned that will always be the focus of this Government.”
The PM’s comments have been heralded as some to infer that the House Selection Committee will block debate.
Several senior Liberal MPs are moving against the motion. In response to the bill Liberal Senator Eric Abetz has not only warned legalising same-sex marriage would open a Pandora’s Box leading to polygamy but suggested any Liberal members wishing to support the reform should be forced to resign from the frontbench.
At least six members of the executive, including cabinet ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Greg Hunt and junior ministers Simon Birmingham, Josh Frydenberg, Marise Payne and Kelly O'Dwyer, are supporters of marriage equality and would be forced to resign should Senator Abetz’s call be heeded by the party.