Abbott’s decision on conscience vote betrays Liberals’ belief in individual choice

Tony Abbott’s decision to rule out a conscience vote for Coalition members on marriage equality again demonstrates he’s out of touch with what most Australians want, the Australian Greens said today.

"The time for legislating for marriage equality is now, no matter which side of politics you are on," said Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren. "I'm delighted that polls show strong support for Liberals to exercise their conscience to vote on the marriage equality bills coming up in federal Parliament."

“Numerous surveys show Australians want their MPs to have a conscience vote on same-sex marriages,” Greens’ marriage equality spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

“Mr Abbott should stop swimming against the tide of public opinion and let his Coalition MPs have a free vote when the legislation is presented in parliament next year.

“The latest Nielsen poll out today has support for a conscience vote backed 81 percent of respondents. Last week, Australian Marriage Equality released a Galaxy poll survey showing four in five people backed a conscience vote. Of these, 76 percent of Coalition supporters want their representatives to have a free vote.

“Mr Abbott should not impede that, otherwise many Liberals will cross the floor, as they have done in the past.”