Shorten asks PM for conscience vote on marriage equality

OPPOSITION leader Bill Shorten has called on the Prime Minister to allow the Coalition a conscience vote on marriage equality.

After he indicated earlier this week he would introduce a bill next week in parliament, Mr Shorten made the call yesterday.

Mr Shorten said the only "real obstacle" to a marriage equality bill succeeding in parliament was "that we need a free vote from Tony Abbott's team".

"I will allow a free vote of the Labor Party, so for people who don't agree with marriage equality, they can vote against it because I believe this matter should be above politics," he said.

"The only reason why Tony Abbott was talking about marriage equality yesterday is because Labor put it on the agenda."

But Mr Abbott has said a Labor-led bill would not succeed, instead saying that it should be government legislation with Labor's support.

Growing pressure for a conscience vote in the Coalition could lead to a vote in parliament before the end of the year, if Mr Abbott's conditions are met.

- APN Newsdesk