Labor blocks proposed same-sex marriage plebiscite

The Labor caucus has voted to block the federal government’s proposed same-sex marriage plebiscite.

It means the bill will almost certainly fail in the Senate after a number of Greens and crossbenchers already confirmed they will not be supporting the proposal.

The decision wasn’t much of a surprise, with Labor Leader Bill Shorten saying ahead of the meeting that he hadn’t heard any good arguments in favour of the plebiscite – which he insists is a divisive waste of taxpayers’ money.


Mr Shorten believes the best way to achieve marriage equality is to have a free vote in parliament this year.

It comes after Attorney-General George Brandis released draft amendments to the Marriage Act late on Monday night.

The changes include redefining marriage as between “two people” instead of “a man and a woman” and allowing ministers of religion to refuse a same-sex wedding.

Non-religious celebrants can also refuse to marry a same-sex couple on a “conscientious” basis under the proposed legislation.