UNTIL IT'S DONE: Parliament will sit until SSM issue sorted

MALCOLM Turnbull has taken an extraordinary step to ensure gay marriage is legal by Christmas by ordering that lower house of Parliament will sit this year until it is dealt with.

The Prime Minister has also declared the House of Representatives will not rise for the year until all citizenship issues have been resolved.

Lower house MPs will also now delay returning to Canberra for a week until December 4 to allow the Senate time to pass the bill to make gay marriage legal through the upper house.

"The Australian people expect their Parliament to respect the clear mandate of the marriage survey and legislate for marriage equality before the end of the year," senior government minister and Leader of the House Christopher Pyne said in a statement this morning.

"We also need to ensure both the House and the Senate do all they can to resolve the citizenship issue.

"That is the commitment we have made and that is what the Australian people expect."


Mr Turnbull is now under fire for the delay, with Labor and the Greens claiming he has lost control of the government.

The move delays the sitting week until after the December 1 by-election for New England, where Barnaby Joyce is expected to be re-elected.

Greens senators and MPs have accused the Prime Minister of attempting to avoid a revolt over a banking royal commission from within Coalition ranks.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has also accused the Prime Minister of "running scared".

Mr Pyne said the delay had nothing to do with waiting for Barnaby Joyce and John Alexander to return so the government could regain its one-seat majority in the lower house.

He told reporters in Adelaide neither of the former MPs would be back in Parliament by the week of December 4 even if they were re-elected.

In his statement, Mr Pyne warned MPs should be prepared to sit for "as it takes legislate for marriage equality and resolve all citizenship issues".

Malcolm Turnbull in Question Time in the House of Representatives in Canberra. Picture Kym Smith
Malcolm Turnbull in Question Time in the House of Representatives in Canberra. Picture Kym Smith

He said the delay was because the senate was unlikely to finish debating the marriage equality bill until 30 November.

"The House will resume on December 4 at 10am, not November 27, and will sit until marriage equality is law and all citizenship issues have been dealt with by the House," he said.

"While it is entirely possible both matters could be dealt with in the week beginning 4 December, Members should be prepared for the House to sit for some or all of the second week beginning 11 December or as long as it takes legislate for marriage equality and resolve all citizenship issues."

The government has now declared a deadline of December 5 for all lower house MPs to disclose their citizenship status and any documents relating to foreign citizenship renunciation.

Mr Pyne said Labor had agreed to the deadline.

The 150 MPs in the House of Representatives will have an extra few days for their disclosure than the 76 senators in the upper house, who must declare their status by December 1.

Mr Pyne said the time frame for lodgement of disclosures was "not unreasonable".

He said any referrals to the High Court resulting from members' disclosures would be debated after the passage of the marriage equality bill.

The High Court will only sit until December 15 this year so it is unlikely it would have a chance to hear any new dual citizenship cases from the lower house before next year.

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