CANBERRA, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- Conservative government MPs have been gearing up for a push to allow a free vote on same-sex marriage in Australia, in a move which, if successful, would abandon the Liberal-National Party's (LNP) stance on holding a plebiscite, or non-binding public vote, in the near future.
Local media reported that at least six Liberal MPs are behind the push for a free vote in the chambers, and are expected to bring it up for discussion once Parliament resumes next week.
The MPs include Dean Smith, Tim Wilson, Trent Zimmerman, Trevor Evans and Melissa Price and long-time Liberal same-sex marriage advocate Warren Entsch, according to Fairfax Media.
One of the government's main selling points at the 2016 federal election was that a public vote, or plebiscite, would be help to determine the future of same-sex marriage, but the plan received a significant backlash when it was revealed it would cost well in excess of 100 million Australian dollars (75 million U.S. dollars).
According to the Fairfax report, the involved MPs want a vote as early as March so the government can move past the social issues and resume focusing on other political matters ahead of the next election.
"No one wants this issue to go into the May budget session, so let's deal with this quickly and relatively painlessly," one unnamed MP told Fairfax Media on Saturday.
"This could be world's biggest pain between now and the next poll."
If the topic goes to a free vote in Parliament, it is likely to succeed, as Labor, the Greens and a number of crossbench MPs have said they would support same-sex marriage. With the support of even a handful of coalition ministers, the vote would likely result in an overwhelming 'yes'.