WA Premier comes out in favour of conscience vote on Marriage EqualityWA Premier Mr Colin Barnett has said he will allow the state’s MPs a conscience vote on Marriage Equality.

While Mr Barnett is opposed to same sex marriage  (he is in favour of civil unions) he has stated that he believes that public support for marriage equality is growing so will allow a conscience vote for his party’s members.

Australian Marriage Equality’s WA Convenor, Brian Greig, said that over the past week state Liberals had given contradictory messages on this topic, at one point confirming a conscience vote and then retracting it just hours later.

“This issue is very important to many people in the current state election because a Bill for marriage equality is already tabled in parliament and voters want to know where their candidates stand on the matter,” Mr Greig said.

When it became apparent that information to voters by Liberal candidates was being refuted by the Premier’s media unit, AME stepped in to clarify the issue with a direct approach to the Premier’s office.

“While Mr Barnett has said he is personally opposed to allowing same-sex couples to marry, he will allow a conscience vote for his party on any such legislation,” Mr Greig said.

Mr Greig said the policy confusion from the state government was a salutary reminder to everyone involved in equal marriage campaigns across the nation to monitor the policies and statements being made by MP’s and to be alert to messages during elections.

AME National Convenor, Rodney Croome, said the stance by the WA Premier put further pressure on Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, to allow a conscience vote for his Canberra colleagues.

“Mr Abbott said recently when in Perth that he wanted to model himself on Colin Barnett if he becomes Prime Minister. If this is so, he should emulate the WA Premier’s decision to allow a free vote on marriage equality,” Mr Croome said.