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

Govt's plebiscite case is strong, Ryan

AAP logoAAP 16/10/2016

The minister responsible for steering the same-sex marriage plebiscite through parliament has dismissed Labor's call for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to allow a free vote on gay marriage.

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek called the coalition a rabble after Nationals MP George Christensen last week warned the coalition agreement could be broken if Mr Turnbull went ahead with an alternative.

"He should be allowed as prime minister to do what his heart and his head tell him is the right thing," she told Sky Agenda on Sunday.

Mr Turnbull has said he would vote for same-sex marriage. Although he took the plebiscite to the election, it was policy announced by his predecessor Tony Abbott.

Special Minister of State Scott Ryan said Ms Plibersek was trying to divert attention away from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's previous stance to accept a plebiscite.

The plebiscite legislation will be introduced into the House of Representatives this week and Senator Ryan expects it to be debated in the Senate when it resumes in the second week of November.

He would not say how negotiations with cross-benchers were going, but said the government would continue to strongly prosecute the case for the plebiscite.

"I remain an optimist, I think our case for a plebiscite is very strong," he told Sky News.

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

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon