Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard firm on homosexual marriage policy

A CHANGE of Labor policy may not be enough to persuade Julia Gillard to back gay marriage. A motion from the Greens, amended by Labor, due to be voted on in parliament this week calls for all MPs to canvass the issue of gay marriage with their local voters.

The motion has reignited debate on gay marriage, which is not supported in Labor's national platform. Left faction members and other Labor MPs have indicated their support for a conscience vote in parliament and want the platform changed at the party's national conference, expected late next year.

Ms Gillard said she had no problem with the Greens' motion passing in its amended form and for the debate to be had at the Labor national conference. "The platform is decided at the conference and the federal parliamentary Labor Party, led by me, makes decisions on how we will go about working on platform questions," Ms Gillard said. She said people were "getting way ahead of themselves" if they thought the issue could be resolved quickly.

Ms Gillard said she hoped the conference and the party would continue to talk about "the things that will determine prosperity, opportunity and equity in this country for the decades in front of us".

The Herald Sun reported former Labor leader Kevin Rudd had agreed to let MPs have a conscience vote on same-sex marriage in his second term, in a deal with key Left faction leaders, but the plan lapsed when Ms Gillard replaced him as prime minister. Ms Gillard told reporters she was not aware of the deal.


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