Labor promises to legalise same-sex marriage within 100 days if returned to power

Bill Shorten. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/ Getty Images.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has pledged to legalise same-sex marriage within the first 100 days of a Labor government taking office.

The issue of marriage equality was high on the agenda for MPs and senators over the weekend, during the final day of the 47th Australian Labor Party National Conference.

Shorten began his address by describing marriage equality as a “simple overdue change that sends a powerful message” and a matter that should not be subject to political partisanship.

“Let us ask of Mr Abbott that he gives a free vote to all members of his party and of course if we ask for him to give a free vote, we must extend that ourselves,” he said.

“Same-sex couples have waited too long, Australia is trailing the world. The debate about marriage equality has simply gone on too long.”

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Pilbersek echoed Shorten’s comments saying: “I still hope we can have marriage equality by Christmas but if this parliament doesn’t pass marriage equality a Shorten Labor government will in its first 100 days”.

Earlier today, Shorten, Pilbersek and Senate leader Penny Wong agreed to grant Labor MPs a conscience vote on the issue of same-sex marriage for the duration of two parliamentary terms.

After this, Labor’s federal MPs will be bound to vote in favour of legalising same-sex marriage in 2019.

Wong — who received two standing ovations from the audience — went on to say that “this resolution does what we want, which is to end the conscience vote and you have the alternative prime minster of Australia giving you the commitment of what a Labor government would do: within 100 days, a marriage equality bill”.

“There is nothing to fear from equality. Progress has never been easily won, reform is never easily won,” she said.

Here’s a few of Shorten’s tweets from the ALP National Conference.

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.