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Can You Guess How Many Government MPs Showed Up To Watch Labor's Marriage Equality Bill?

Hint: It's not many.

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"This is a moment bigger than politics," declared opposition leader Bill Shorten as he introduced a bill to legalise same sex marriage in Australia.

Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

"This parliament can change a law that no longer describes modern Australia and pass a law of which we can all be proud.

"Let us delay no more. Let us embrace a definition of marriage that respects, values, and includes every Australian."

Only five members of the Coalition turned up to hear the bill being introduced to the House: Bob Baldwin, Russell Broadbent, Darren Chester, Mal Brough, and Andrew Broad.

Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

Out of those five MPs, only Mal Brough and Nationals MP Darren Chester support marriage equality.

From the crossbench, PUP leader Clive Palmer, member for Indi Cathy McGowan, and Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie were present. They've spoken out in support of marriage equality in the past.

Bob Katter was also there for speech. He is opposed to the bill but supports the idea of a conscience vote for his own party.

Labor is calling on Tony Abbott to allow a conscience vote for his party on the issue.

Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

"The obstacle towards marriage equality is the inability of the other major party of Australian politics to provide a free vote for its members of parliament," he said to the Labor caucus before introducing the bill.

"We are almost there. I believe if there is a free vote in the parliament of Australia, the marriage equality will pass," he said.

But the Greens have criticised the timing of the bill, arguing instead for cross-party legislation.

The Greens will support #marriageequality - every vote, every time. But a bill the whole parliament can own has the best chance of success.

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