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Greens accuse Australian Labor Party of ‘back room manipulation’ over gay marriage

Leader Christine Milne says Labor party are trying to get gay marriage off the agenda before the next election, bill in the Senate looks unlikely to pass
Australian Greens leader Christine Milne

The leader of the Australian Greens accused the ruling Labor party of ‘back room manipulation’ over the gay marriage parliamentary debate.

A debate on the Marriage Amendment Bill started in the Australian Senate this morning, where leader of the Australian Greens Christine Milne said the Labor party are trying ‘to get this off the agenda before the general election’.

Milne pointed to a speech trade union leader Joe De Bruyn gave in October 2011 in which he knew the Prime Minister would oppose same-sex marriage while most of her party would support it. At the Labor Party conference in December, that is exactly what happened.

Milne said she believed PM Gillard’s ‘mysterious’ opposition to same-sex marriage is due to the political support Catholic De Bruyn’s trade union gives her.

Milne also said the Labor party were attempting to rush through the debate on same-sex marriage so as to prevent it being an issue during next year’s general election.

Labor party Senator Mark Bishop responded to Milne’s accusations by calling the Greens party ‘Stalinists’ and claiming they do not allow the press or public into their conferences.

The debate started at 11am and was adjourned at 12.30pm. Six senators spoke, three in support and three against the bill. However senators in support mentioned they did not believe they would get the votes to pass the bill ‘this time’.

‘Nobody’s going to stop fighting for marriage equality until it’s achieved,’ said Greens Senator for Western Australia Rachel Siewart.

Yesterday Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr added his support to same-sex marriage. He said it ‘seemed churlish to deny access to marriage to groups that wanted it’, as reported by Sydney Morning Herald.

Gay singer Rufus Wainwright, currently on a visit to Australia, commented yesterday that he was surprised gay marriage wasn’t legalized in the country. ‘Isn’t Sydney the gayest city on earth?’ he said according to AAP.  

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