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Gay marriage advocates draw up hit list of MPs

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

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

270 comments

  • How long now before Fairfax goes out of business?

    Commenter
    KevinC
    Location
    Sunshine Coast
    Date and time
    December 23, 2013, 8:01AM
    • Now now Kevin. You really should try and keep your homophobia private. Or move to Uganda where you can play it out to your heart's content.

      Commenter
      rext
      Date and time
      December 23, 2013, 8:25AM
    • How did your comment get published when it's not on topic? Well good morning! Anyway great article nice to see that people are starting to change their minds about ending human rights discrimination in the 21st Century Australia. Well done! Those MP's that are scared to speak well speak up and toughen up. You have the positions of power you were elected. Open your minds and end this disgusting practice of abuse on human rights.

      Commenter
      The Other Guy1
      Date and time
      December 23, 2013, 8:25AM
    • And yet many of these pollies believe in an Easter bunny on a cloud... Such an intelligent, thoughtful bunch

      Commenter
      Dave
      Date and time
      December 23, 2013, 8:28AM
    • Remember when there was something called the Fourth Estate? And when the media was supposed to be objective and not just constantly hammer a single perspective? When objectivity and a lack of bias was the sign of a good newspaper?

      Happy days, shame the SMH doesnt remember them.

      Commenter
      Kate R
      Date and time
      December 23, 2013, 8:38AM
    • KateR
      If you're that critical of Fairfax I can't imagine what derogatory language you must use to describe News Ltd and their shameful behaviour over the last few years! You didn't show much "objectivity and lack of bias" in your own comment did you?

      Commenter
      rext
      Date and time
      December 23, 2013, 8:51AM
    • in other news.. since ACT Govt couldnt pass its same sex bill, its turned its attention to job growth (sarcasm).. 1st step is to ask the fed govt for bailout package !
      So much for Greens labour economic growth plan

      Commenter
      In real world
      Date and time
      December 23, 2013, 8:56AM
    • @Kate R - Because news limited is a great source of balanced reporting, right?

      Commenter
      M
      Date and time
      December 23, 2013, 8:59AM
    • What is it with this use of the term homophobia? For a start just because some (majority) disagree with the big 1% they have the cheek to try and label people with this bizarre term. I mean if those that disagreed with the big 1% labeled the gay lobby supporters with a similar word there would be screaming from the rooftops. People who disagree do not suffer from anything other than their right to put forward their views. It's fascinating that the gay lobby go beserk if certain words are used to describe them but they do not hesitate to label other people. The hypocracy is mindboggling.

      Commenter
      Roary
      Date and time
      December 23, 2013, 9:01AM
    • It's not homophobia, just common sense.

      Some have accused some of us with being obsessed with the issue. No opponent's obsession could compete with the obsession of the same-sex marriage lobby and some people working for the media.

      Commenter
      David Morrison
      Location
      Blue Mountains
      Date and time
      December 23, 2013, 9:06AM

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