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Australian Greens accuse gov and opposition of ‘killing off’ gay marriage debate

Motion for the Senate to vote on marriage equality tomorrow is ‘a political strategy’ says Greens leader
Australian Greens leader Senator Christine Milne in parliament

The Australian Greens party has accused the government and the opposition of working together to ‘rush through’ and ‘kill off’ the parliamentary debate on gay marriage this week.

The Greens party objected to a proposed motion to change the Senate’s program so that a vote on same-sex marriage happens tomorrow, following an unsuccessful vote in the lower House of Representatives this morning.

Greens leader Christine Mline accused the government and the opposition of working together to ‘rush-through’ votes on marriage equality as ‘a political strategy’.

Milne said: 'It is rude to the parliament and the people campaigning about this across the country... There are families around Australia today who had hoped this parliament would speak with the courage of their convictions on this issue'.

She added that instead there were ‘political games… to try and secure an outcome of the vote for political purposes’.

Milne accused Prime Minister Julia Gillard of acting in the interests of lobbying group Australian Christian Lobby and not the Australian people.

The Greens’ Senator Hanson-Young, sponsor of another marriage equality bill in the parliament, criticized Gillard for failing to defend her opposition to same-sex marriage during this morning’s parliamentary question time.

'The PM couldn’t even get to her feet to explain why she was voting "no" to marriage equality,' said Hanson-Young. 'She didn’t have the guts… to explain to the Australian people why she thinks discrimination should continue.'

Greens senator Richard Di Natale said the Labor Party and the coalition were trying to bring the debate to an end so that ‘prejudiced views’ like that of Liberal MP Cory Bernardi aren’t heard.

Bernadi resigned from a front bench position this morning after he was criticized by his own party for comparing gay marriage to bestiality.

Despite the opposition of Greens senators a motion was passed so a vote on the Marriage Amendment Bill will happen tomorrow. It is unlikely the vote will be successful.

On Monday, Milne accused the Labor party of ‘back room manipulation’ over the gay marriage debate and said that the prime minister’s ‘mysterious’ opposition was due to a deal with union leader and Australian Christian Lobby member Joe De Bruyn.  

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