It seems very odd and even selfish for a leader to prevent a conscience vote just to get his own way. This is the only conclusion that can be reached when Tony Abbott, an ardent Catholic, will not give members of the Liberal Party freedom to vote as they like on same-sex marriages. It is common knowledge that the majority of the Coalition would vote to support it if freedom was given. Julia Gillard was just as bad when she was Prime Minister and would not allow the Labor party a conscience vote.
Australia is too conservative for the rest of the world on same-sex marriage. We have been left behind. Liberal senator Cory Bernardi is one of the "dictators". He says, there is "no room for a personal view". These fossils are living in 18th century mode. The whole world is going down the road of more freedom.
This issue will not go away. Private members' bills will continually be resubmitted, until rationality ultimately wins. Tanya Plibersek could ask Liberal Malcolm Turnbull to co-sponsor her proposal.
In a democracy as Australia claims to be, there is no democracy within political parties whose members are put there by the people. Politicians know if the issue was put to a referendum same-sex marriage would be passed. Though it is a peculiarity of Australians that they usually vote "No" to any referendum, this case is different. It is also time again for a referendum to make the Northern Territory a state, so the High Court would find it more difficult to overrule its laws.
Politics by Ty Buchanan