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Gay marriage to be among top issues in Australian election campaign

Advocates for marriage equality in Australia have released polling that shows gay marriage will be a big issue for swing voters when they go to the polls 7 September
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Photo by Australian Government

Campaigners for same-sex marriage in Australia have vowed to make the issue a key issue in the lead up to Australians voting on 7 September.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the election date yesterday and Australian Marriage Equality has released new polling that shows that same-sex marriage will be a key issue for swing voters.

A poll by the Galaxy research company found marriage equality could be an election-decider with 11% of Liberal/National Coalition supporters saying they were more likely to vote Labor because of Rudd's support on the issue while 57% of voters including 37% of Coalition voters said Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s opposition on the issue was out-of-step with community attitudes.

‘More Australians than ever, passionately want our nation to achieve marriage equality and will be taking that aspiration into the ballot box,’ Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome said.

‘In the lead up to the election we will be reaching out to millions of Australians voters through direct mail, social and conventional media, and community events to remind them which candidates support marriage equality and which don't.

Croome said marriage equality will not be achieved by any one party and so the group will not be telling anyone which party to vote for.

‘Because marriage equality will be achieved by a cross-party conscience vote, we are encouraging voters to cast their ballots for individual candidates who support reform, regardless of their party,’ Croome said.

‘Recent federal and state marriage equality inquiries have received a far larger response in favor of reform than any other inquiries in Australians history. This alone should tell election candidates that support for marriage equality is a vote winner.’

The news comes as the Newspoll polling agency found support for Abbott’s Liberal/National Coalition at 52% and Rudd’s Labor and coalition partner the Greens at 48%

However the poll also found Rudd to be preferred prime minister over Abbott.

Rudd has called for a conscience vote by all parties on same-sex marriage following the election but Opposition leader Tony Abbott has said that his party room will only consider whether to give MPs a conscience vote following the election.

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