AUSTRALIA: PM Tony Abbott Rejects Call For Referendum Of Same-Sex Marriage
ABC News Australia:
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has dismissed the idea of a referendum on same-sex marriage in Australia, after Ireland voted in favour of amending the country's constitution on the issue. All of Ireland's 43 constituencies except one voted in favour of the measure, with the final figures showing 62 per cent of votes in favour of the change and 38 per cent against. Mr Abbott said "questions of marriage are the preserve of the Commonwealth Parliament". "Referendums are held in this country where there's a proposal to change the constitution," he said. "I don't think anyone is suggesting the constitution needs to be changed in this respect." Mr Abbott reiterated his opposition to same-sex marriage and said it is a matter for the Coalition party room to decide whether MPs get a conscience vote, should legislation come before parliament. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who is in favour of marriage equality, said Mr Abbott now needs explain why the Government is unwilling to pursue the change. "If the Irish people can vote in favour of marriage equality, the question has to be asked, what is Tony Abbott's problem with it?" he said.Support for gay marriage is believed to be a few votes short of passage in the legislature.