Tony Abbott’s ploys to stop marriage equality are dividing not only his own party but the country, Terri Butler said.

Terri Butler seconded the cross party bill for marriage equality when Warren Entsch moved it in the House of Representatives today.

“Tony Abbott is doing everything he can to hold on as leader of his deeply divided party,” Terri Butler said.

“I welcomed the opportunity to second the cross-party marriage equality bill, because I support the  notion of a cross-party approach” she said.

“The parliament should have an opportunity to vote on the bill — there should be an opportunity for the Liberal Party moderates, who have been treated so poorly within the Coalition, to support this bill in public.

“But Tony Abbott is determined to block marriage equality in a desperate attempt to save his own job.

“Trying to use a plebiscite or a referendum to block the bill is a tricky ploy. It’s about ‘killing’ marriage equality, as Coalition back bencher Dennis Jensen has admitted.

“It’s no coincidence that a plebiscite/referendum are being advocating by the very people who don’t support marriage equality.

“It’s a great same that Tony Abbott is prepared to not only divide his own party but to divide the country in order to stop the reform.

“The parliament should make marriage equality a reality now. If not, then there will be a popular vote: it’s called ‘the next election’.

“A Shorten Labor government will introduce a Bill for marriage equality in its first 100 days if elected.

“In contrast the Coalition government, and Tony Abbott, will do everything in their power to stop marriage equality.

“As Bill Shorten has said, it is increasingly obvious that you can have Tony Abbott, or marriage equality, but not both,” she said.

Terri Butler will speak, as seconder,  if the bill is brought back to the House for debate. It is not known whether, or if, the bill will return for debate. That will be a matter for the House’s selection processes