AUSTRALIA: Government To Press For Postal Plebiscite On Marriage After Bid For Conscience Vote Fails

ABC News reports:

Federal Liberal MPs have overwhelmingly decided to keep their current policy on same-sex marriage. Only seven Liberals voted to change the policy after a two-hour meeting ended with a show of hands.

The seven MPs who voted to change the policy were: Warren Entsch and Trevor Evans (Qld), Tim Wilson and Jason Wood (Vic), John Alexander and Trent Zimmerman (NSW) and Senator Dean Smith (WA). It means the push by a small group of Liberals for an immediate conscience vote on same-sex marriage has failed.

But Mr Wood said it was “great news” because Australia had come a step closer to having same-sex marriage. The Coalition will now try again to have a plebiscite — or national vote — on whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex marriage.

More from the Australian:

The federal government will launch a postal plebiscite on same-sex marriage as soon as next week as Malcolm Turnbull sets a December 7 deadline to decide the reform in parliament, backed by Liberal MPs who endorsed the “people’s vote” in a high-stakes meeting tonight.

The government is claiming a “high degree of confidence” it can stare down court challenges to the optional postal vote on the controversial social question, clearing the way for a free vote in parliament if Australians back the change.

Mr Turnbull secured overwhelming support for the plebiscite from the Liberal meeting in Parliament House after a week of infighting that fuelled talk of a threat to his authority from the deep animosities over changing the Marriage Act.

Aiming to stop the internal brawl from deepening the government’s political problems, Mr Turnbull will see an agreement from the Coalition party room on Tuesday to embrace the postal vote if the Senate once again rejects the original election commitment of a compulsory plebiscite.