Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
Same-sex marriage advocates have drawn up a hit list of about 70 federal politicians, including Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Treasurer Joe Hockey, who they think could be persuaded to change their position on marriage equality in the new year.
But they have an uphill battle ahead of them, with a Fairfax Media survey of 15 new Liberal MPs revealing none were willing or able to declare their support for same-sex marriage.
Australian Marriage Equality plans to target 50 lower house members in 2014, with a two-thirds bias towards Liberal MPs. Along with Ms Bishop and Mr Hockey, Education Minister Christopher Pyne, and Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley have been selected as high-profile targets.
On the Labor side, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen and opposition frontbencher Ed Husic have been identified as potential new supporters.
This comes after the High Court found earlier this month that ACT same-sex marriages were not legal, but that it was possible for the federal Marriage Act to be changed to allow for same-sex marriages.
If Liberal MPs were given a conscience vote, about 25 MPs would need to change their position in the House of Representatives to pass same-sex marriage legislation, according to AME national director Rodney Croome. In the upper house, about 10 senators would need to change their minds, he said.
Unlike their Labor counterparts, Liberal MPs do not have a conscience vote on the matter, but Prime Minister Tony Abbott has left open the possibility of a free vote, saying the issue was a matter for the post-election party room.
Mr Croome said that many new Coalition members are ''receptive to the case for reform''.
''Since the election the doors of many Coalition members, especially the new ones, have been open to us because they want to know more about the issue and because Liberal supporters of reform clearly did not suffer from their stance at the polls.''
But despite recent publicity of same-sex marriage at both the state and federal level, the issue remains on the back burner within Coalition ranks in Canberra. It is understood same-sex marriage has not been raised in Liberal party room meetings since the September election.
A Fairfax Media survey of more than 20 new Liberal MPs also found that of the 15 who responded, none indicated outright that they supported same-sex marriage.
Five MPs indicated they had no firm position or would consult their electorates about their position, in the event of a vote.
This group included West Australian MP Christian Porter. ''If [a] conscience vote ever did came to pass I would consider my position carefully then and the actual legislation would be critical as I would never support anything that compelled churches to conduct or recognise unions they were doctrinally opposed to,'' Mr Porter said.
Only two MPs, including Sydney MP Craig Laundy, clearly indicated they would support a conscience vote. Mr Laundy does not support same-sex marriage for religious reasons but said he had ''zero interest'' in forcing that view on other MPs.
In a sign of the sensitivity around the issue, six MPs surveyed by Fairfax Media were not willing to make any comment at all on same-sex marriage.
On the Labor side of the Federal Parliament, marriage equality advocates are buoyed by the new Labor leadership team, which for the first time, includes a leader and deputy leader who support same-sex marriage.
When same-sex marriage votes were taken in the last Parliament in September last year, the lower house voted 98-42 against and the Senate voted 41 to 26 against.
With Bianca Hall