You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

ALP wins praise for killing plebiscite

AAP logoAAP 11/10/2016 Tracey Ferrier and Belinda Tasker

Same-sex marriage advocates say Labor has put Australia on a path to historic social change in opposing the government's push for a plebiscite.

The Turnbull government's plebiscite was all but killed off on Tuesday when the Labor caucus formalised its opposition to a bill that would have allowed a national vote next February.

Marriage reform campaigners are celebrating, and say the next step must be a stand-alone vote in parliament but the Australian Christian Lobby says the government will be betraying voters if it changes its position.

"The coalition went to the last election promising a people's vote and won the election. It would be a breach of trust by government members to allow any other pathway for change," ACL spokesman Lyle Shelton said.

Labor had denied ordinary people a say on the biggest social policy change in a generation, Mr Shelton said.

And he could not fathom why reform advocates are against a popular vote when they claimed to have broad community support.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten denied Labor's stance will kill off the issue of marriage reform in the current term.

The lobby group PFLAG - Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays - says timely meaningful change is still possible but it's up to the prime minister to do the right thing and allow a parliamentary vote.

"They (Labor) are in the process of changing history and they will be on the right side of history," PFLAG's national spokeswoman Shelly Argent told AAP from Canberra.

She said a recent PFLAG poll showed 65 per cent of gay and lesbian people didn't want a plebiscite under any circumstances, "and that means they'd rather just wait, or go without".

Australian Marriage Equality chairman Alex Greenwich said Labor had listened to the concerns of the gay and lesbian community and the end game must be a vote in the parliament.

"The political reality is that the plebiscite is dead and there's strong support for marriage equality in the community," he told AAP.

Veteran marriage reform advocate Rodney Croome says some in the Liberal party are again taking about a parliamentary vote.

"Not only is there another way forward, it is already taking shape with Liberal backbenchers talking privately about revisiting a free vote and with various supporters of marriage equality talking about a cross-party bill in the Senate," he said.

Labor understood the plebiscite would have been a "disaster" for marriage equality and the LGBTI community, he said.

"I'm relieved that there won't be a plebiscite because it will literally save lives," he said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon