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Gay marriage vote must be accepted: Abbott

AAP logoAAP 26/09/2016 Elise Scott

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has issued a message to politicians on all sides of parliament about a proposed national vote on same-sex marriage: whatever the people want must be accepted.

Despite his strong views against legalising same-sex marriage, he's prepared to vote with the people should they say yes.

"This is a matter that is properly for the people and if the people vote for change, the parliament has to accept it," he told 3AW on Tuesday.

"Individual members of parliament have to accept it."

Equally, he hopes same-sex marriage supporters will do the same if the country votes no.

The proposed plebiscite won't be binding and several coalition MPs have indicated they'll vote no regardless of the result.

Mr Abbott accused Labor of not being "fair dinkum" about same-sex marriage and using the issue as a political weapon by not accepting the government's election mandate and supporting legislation to set up a national vote.

Labor will decide its final position when caucus meets on October 11 but leader Bill Shorten is expected to recommend MPs oppose the plebiscite.

The government insists it still wants to hear proposals from Labor on changing the proposed national vote after an attempt to break a deadlock failed.

A meeting between Attorney-General George Brandis and shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus went nowhere on Monday, with both sides blaming each other for the impasse.

Special Minister of State Scott Ryan was at Monday's meeting and insists the government's door is still open.

"We're saying to them again, if you'd like to put forward a proposal we will consider it in good faith," he told ABC radio on Tuesday.

Senator Brandis says he asked Mr Dreyfus nine times at the Monday meeting what the opposition wanted in order to support the plebiscite plan but got no answer.

But Labor says the coalition has failed to indicate any preparedness to compromise.

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