News

Turnbull will have to toe party line

Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull has voiced his support for a conscience vote on gay marriage.
Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull has voiced his support for a conscience vote on gay marriage. Cade Mooney

A CONSCIENCE vote on gay marriage does not look likely in Federal Parliament leaving Opposition frontbencher and civil unions supporter Malcolm Turnbull with no choice but to follow his party line.

Speaking at the Southern Cross University Michael Kirby Lecture Series on the Gold Coast on Friday, Mr Turnbull, who has voiced his support for a conscience vote on the controversial topic, said it did not look likely his leader would change his mind.

"I don't think Mr (Tony) Abbott is likely to change his mind; he has made a decision on that and he has the support of the party room," he said.

Two bills on civil unions recently went through the parliamentary committee process but are not expected to go before Federal Parliament until the end of the year.

Despite the delay, Mr Turnbull is confident federally-recognised civil unions will become a reality.

"While I am very doubtful the numbers are there to legislate for gay marriage in the Federal Parliament I think they are certainly there to legislate for civil unions," he said. "I think it would be a great pity if marriage is not able to be passed in the parliament and that opportunity to pass civil unions should be taken up.

"I think it will be between now and when the parliament is dissolved before the time of the election."

His remarks follow the Queensland Parliament's controversial move to repeal civil union laws and make surrogacy for same-sex couple illegal.

Mr Turnbull would not comment on the moves.

The coalition MP was scheduled to give a speech on gay marriage and human rights at the annual lecture last night but was not giving anything away to reporters beforehand.

He will be joined by former High Court Justice Michael Kirby, who has been a staunch advocate for gay rights throughout his very accomplished legal career.

Topics:  conscience vote, federal parliament, gay marriage, lnp, malcolm turnbull




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Bronwyn Bancroft’s Colours of Australia

Artist Bronwyn Bancroftin front of one of her works in her exhibition at the Grafton Regional Gallery Colours of Australia.

Colourful Australia opened at the Grafton Regional Gallery.

It's time to bring out the winter woolies

Grafton's Clarence St shrouded in fog this morning. Photo was taken slightly after 8am.Photo Matthew McInerney / Daily Examiner

Cooler overnight temperatures here to stay

Pair paddles 60km to highlight depression

DETERMINED: Will Brighton and Todd Ives in Yamba during their 60km paddle from Woody Head to Wooli.

Will Brighton and Todd Ives share rewarding experience on the water

Latest deals and offers

Bronwyn Bancroft's Colours of Australia

Artist Bronwyn Bancroftin front of one of her works in her exhibition at the Grafton Regional Gallery Colours of Australia.

Artist Bronwyn Bancroft's exhibition Colours of Australia is introduced by her...

Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce tour Rockhampton sweet potato farm

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce visit a...

Men's Shed possum boxes

(back l-r) David Abrahams, Frank heppell, Warren Moss, Kevin Wtkins and (front) Darcy Knight with some of the possum boxes the Grafton Men's Shed are making for the new highway construction.

Grafton Men's Shed members have made 65 possum boxes for Eco Logical Australia to...

Perfect time to invest in Northern Rivers property

The Northern Rivers rental market is tighter than Sydney making it the perfect time for investors to get better returns out of property than superannuation or banks deposits.

Low interest rates and tight rental market are prime time to invest