Bill Shorten has called on the government to bring on a vote on Labor's same-sex marriage bill and avoid the need for an expensive plebiscite.
Labor has called on the government to bring on a vote on its marriage equality bill and avoid the need to go to an expensive plebiscite.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said there could be a vote on Labor's legislation in the House of Representatives next week, the final sitting week before the budget and possibly the last before an election is called.
"Let's have a conscience vote of our members of Parliament. Why do we need to waste $160 million on a plan devised by the opponents of marriage equality," he told reporters in Tasmania on Monday.
The government has promised a national vote on same-sex marriage but it hasn't agreed on when or how.
"The details of how it is constructed and the question and all of those sorts of things - that is still detail to be worked through and that will go through the normal cabinet process, including the ultimate timing of these things," Treasurer Scott Morrison said on Monday.
Mr Shorten said the international experience of big divisive plebiscites or referendums was that they produced a lot of ugly arguments.
"I don't think it is healthy to have that big nasty public debate when in fact we can have it in the confines of parliament," he said.
Parliament was created to debate these sort of issues and we should get on with it and then move on to other issues as soon as possible, he said.