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Thursday 23 November 2017

Australia's ruling party refuses vote on gay marriage bill

Marriage equality advocates Alex Greenwich and Anna Brown address the media at Parliament House in Canberra. (AP)
Marriage equality advocates Alex Greenwich and Anna Brown address the media at Parliament House in Canberra. (AP)
The vote is seen as a test of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's authority.

Australia's ruling party has rejected a push to allow politicians to decide whether the country should recognise gay marriage.

The conservative Liberal Party-led coalition was re-elected in July 2016 with a promise to let voters decide whether Australia should recognise same-sex marriage through a popular vote.

But the Senate would not allow the so-called plebiscite.

A crisis meeting of Liberal politicians on Monday decided to try again to persuade the Senate to endorse the plebiscite before Parliament considers voting on legislation.

The meeting rejected a proposal by Liberal colleague Dean Smith to allow a vote on a draft bill that would allow gay marriage now.

Finding policy agreement on the issue is a test of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's authority over his fragile government.

Press Association

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