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Gay marriage may still happen under new Australian PM Tony Abbott

Despite 'deeply religious' Abbott winning election, his Liberal party may need to align with pro-gay parties in Parliament
Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott's victory as the new Australian Prime Minister appeared to be a death knell for same sex marriage in Australia.

Abbott, who has 'deeply religious' Catholic views, has been a vocal critic of same sex marriage, once even calling it 'The fashion of the moment' - despite having a lesbian sister.

However, there is still a chance that same sex marriage may be discussed, and even voted on, in Parliament.

Gay Star News reporter Andrew Potts, who is based in Australia, has looked into the situation and found that whilst Abbott may have won the election, same sex marriage may still have support within the Australian government.

Reporting from Australia, he told us: 'Both parties that Abbott will most likely have to negotiate with - the Katter's Australia Party and Palmers United Australia Party will allow their senators a conscience vote on same-sex marriage so there are likely to be more votes in the Senate for marriage equality, while it would still fail in the House of Representatives.

'The Greens are certain to increase their numbers in the Senate and they all support marriage equality, while many Labor Senators who are marriage equality supporters have been voted into the Senate.

'That the Liberal National Coalition has done quite badly in the house of review is a sign that Australian voters wanted a change of government but are afraid of Abbott's extremism so have made sure there will be many checks and balances on his leadership.

'Abbott has said his cabinet would decide following the election whether to allow his MPs a conscience vote and the poor result in the senate will give moderates in the Liberal National Coalition a strong case to make for one.

'The new Senators will not sit until July next year so Abbott will have to work with the Greens until then so they could well negotiate a Coalition conscience vote.'

Abbott's victory in the Australian elections on Saturday (6 September) ended six years of a center-left Labor government.

Outgoing Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been a vocal supporter for gay rights.

Rudd had promised that, if re-elected, he would have introduced a vote on same sex marriage within the first 100 days of his new term as Prime Minister.

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