Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese says he's an advocate for gay and lesbian rights, but won't clarify his position on same-sex marriage.
6 Mar 2011 - 11:20 AM  UPDATED 24 Feb 2015 - 5:06 PM

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese says he's an advocate for gay and lesbian rights but won't clarify his position on same-sex marriage.

Gay marriage was a prominent theme of Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and will be high on the agenda at the ALP national conference in December.

Mr Albanese, who attended the Mardi Gras on Saturday and represents an inner-western Sydney electorate, would not confirm whether he would vote in support of gay marriage at the party conference.

But hinted that he would be referring to his first parliamentary speech, almost 15 years ago, where he spoke about the rights of gay or lesbian people.

"I will be putting that view strongly within the party," he told Network Ten on Sunday.

Mr Albanese noted that people were arrested for marching at the 1978 the Mardi Gras because homosexuality was illegal.

"History moves on and guess what? The sky doesn't fall (in)," Mr Albanese said.

Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan says he supports Labor's current view that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

"But we have a process we go through in the Labor Party," he told the Nine Network, referring to the ALP conference where policy positions are debated.

Labor frontbencher Peter Garrett refused to state his view on the issue of gay marriage, which he noted would be discussed at the party conference.

The member for Kingsford Smith told Sky News he was canvassing the issue in his Sydney electorate, following the successful motion in parliament to do so.

Labor MPs supported the motion put forward by Australian Greens MP Adam Bandt last year for politicians to gauge the issue of same-sex marriage in their electorates.

Opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb said Australian Greens leader Bob Brown's sponsorship of legislation making it harder to overturn territory laws was a "sneaky manoeuvre".

The executive veto - which under his bill would be replaced by a vote of the federal parliament - has been used in the past to abolish the ACT's laws on same-sex civil unions.

The Labor caucus on Tuesday gave Senator Brown's draft laws the green light, which Mr Robb said was because Labor contained such a large "socially progressive" element.

"The Greens think that if it was put to the parliament and they got a conscience vote, the majority would prevail on gay marriage, euthanasia and a whole bunch of other social policies," he told ABC TV.

"(Ms Gillard) rammed this through knowing full well it was a backdoor way in all likelihood to get these measures passed."

Mr Robb said the Greens' only lower house MP Adam Bandt was dictating to the rest of the chamber on sensitive issues.

"This is an absurd situation, it's untenable, it's dangerous for the country and that's why we say, 'If you want to make all these change which you didn't promise, go back to the people'."

Mr Robb added that many Australians couldn't understand "why the hell" the parliament was dominated by such matters.