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ALP caucus to be asked to veto plebiscite

AAP logoAAP 14/09/2016 Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer

Labor is set to block the same-sex marriage plebiscite, with Bill Shorten expected to ask caucus to oppose the government's enabling bill.

The Labor leader is on his way to the Canadian city of Montreal for a conference on progressive politics as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull introduces the bill to give Australians a say on changing marriage laws.

It is understood Mr Shorten will recommend to the caucus - which next meets on October 11 - the plebiscite bill be opposed, which will lead to its defeat in the Senate.

Mr Shorten, before he flew out to Canada on Wednesday, said the fact that public funding had been provided "to give a platform to bigotry" showed the government does not want to work with Labor on the issue.

"He is deliberately sabotaging the process to make it difficult for even the most ardent supporters of marriage equality to back it," he said of the prime minister.

"It's clear the extreme right wing of the Liberal party are setting marriage equality up to fail."

Mr Shorten said history would record Mr Turnbull as the "prime minister who broke the nation's heart", having caved in to the likes of conservative Liberals Tony Abbott, Kevin Andrews and Eric Abetz.

"I am gravely concerned about the plebiscite and over the coming days and weeks, we will be sitting down with people affected, families and mental health experts about the harm a plebiscite will cause," he said.

The government argues public funding is needed to have a fully informed debate on the issue.

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