Same-sex marriage advocates say Labor has put Australia on a path to historic social change by rejecting a public vote.

The Labor caucus was unanimous in its opposition to the plebiscite.

They say that’s what politicians are elected to do.

Talissa Siganto reports.


Labor MPs and Senators met in Canberra this morning to formalise their decision.

Ahead of the meeting, the Attorney General had a final message for the opposition.

George Brandis, Attorney General: “I call upon the labor party to stop playing politics with gay peoples lives.”

But Labor were confident in their decision?

Bill Shorten, Opposition Leader: “I haven’t heard a good argument emerge at the eleventh hour in favour of the plebiscite.”

The Government’s proposed amendments include redefining marriage as being between two people.

The changes would also allow ministers of religion and marriage celebrants to “refuse to solemnise a marriage”.

Labor say marriage equality should be determined by a free vote of parliament, but the Coalition is staying firm.

George Brandis, Attorney General: “There is only one path forward for this because that is the position we took to the election and we intend to keep our promise.”

And some conservative Nationals are taking it a step further.

Andrew Broad, Nationals MP: “Well I’m saying my support for the Government is conditional that we honour our election commitments.”

With the Greens and key crossbenchers previously announcing their opposition, the bill is all but likely to fail in the senate.

Talissa Siganto, QUT News