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Abbott’s decision on conscience vote betrays Liberals’ belief in individual choice

Tony Abbott's decision to rule out a conscience vote for Coalition members on marriage equality again demonstrates he's out of touch with what most Australians want, the Australian Greens said today.

"Numerous surveys show Australians want their MPs to have a conscience vote on same-sex marriages," Greens' marriage equality spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"Mr Abbott should stop swimming against the tide of public opinion and let his Coalition MPs have a free vote when the legislation is presented in parliament next year.

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Govt should stay course with community release of asylum seekers

Despite concerns from some quarters, the Gillard government is right to be moving more asylum seekers into the community when they have been assessed as safe to do so, the Australian Greens said today.

"It is cheaper and is decent of the federal government to be moving more fragile people into the community, rather than having them languishing indefinitely in detention centres," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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ACT and Australia want marriage equality, not merely civil unions

The ACT government's decision to reintroduce legislation on civil union laws is another positive development, but falls short of marriage equality reforms Australians want at the federal level, the Australian Greens said today.

"Real reform will be made when the federal parliament passes marriage equality legislation, which will send a signal that same-sex couples are not considered under federal law as second-class citizens," Greens' marriage equality spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

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Protect Indonesian children by banning x-ray use

The Home Affairs Minister should have told the Indonesian government that Australian authorities were immediately scrapping wrist x-rays to determine the ages of asylum seeker boat crew, the Greens said today.

"The Greens have a bill before parliament to change the laws so children are not detained and wrist x-rays cannot be used," Greens' immigration and children spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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Pressure on Abbott over marriage equality

The Australian Greens say remarks by Malcolm Turnbull and Barry O'Farrell on a conscience vote for marriage equality is further proof Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, should allow a free vote.

"If the Coalition sticks with Tony Abbott's outdated policy of marriage being between a man and a woman, opposition members should be allowed a conscience vote," Greens' marriage equality spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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Labor lurches to the right and loses touch

Opening the Labor Party conference, Julia Gillard told her party faithful she wanted the ALP to be the party that says "yes to the future".

Yet the Prime Minister spent the next three days advocating for the resurrection of the old, tired conservative policies of John Howard. On policies covering asylum seekers, uranium and same-sex marriage, Labor's leader backed the stance of the former ultra-conservative Liberal prime minister.

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New survey shows 80% want Abbott to give Coalition MPs a conscience vote on marriage equality

The Australian Greens say the unstoppable drive for marriage equality continues with a new Galaxy poll showing 80 percent of respondents want the Coalition to have a free vote on it in parliament.

The survey conducted for Australians for Marriage Equality also shows 76 percent of Coalition supporters would back their MPs having a conscience vote.

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Greens to seize momentum on marriage equality

The Australian Greens have announced today they will reintroduce their marriage equality bill into both houses of parliament when sittings resume in early 2012.

Seizing on the momentum of the ALP's decision on marriage equality, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young invited both Labor and Liberal members to co-sign her bill.

"Marriage equality and fairness for all is about love and should be above politics," the Greens' marriage equality spokesperson said.

"With support from members from all sides, I believe these bills can pass in time for the spring wedding season."

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