Most Australians want a national vote on legalising same-sex marriage before any decision is made by politicians, a new poll has shown.
The poll reported in The Australian found 76 per cent of the 1200 people surveyed wanted a plebiscite to be held before MPs change the traditional definition of marriage.
The Sexton survey was conducted before Prime Minister Tony Abbott rejected calls from within his own party to hold a plebiscite or referendum at or before the next federal election.
More people in the survey said they wanted to take time for an informed debate compared with those who backed an early decision, 49 per cent to 44.
The poll, taken last month for traditional marriage group the Australian Marriage Alliance, asked if people thought politicians alone should vote on same-sex marriage or if they believed the issue was sufficiently important for all Australians to have a say first.
A total of 76 per cent backed a national vote, with the level of support virtually the same through every category of those who want same-sex marriage, those who oppose it and those who are neutral (77 per cent, 77 per cent and 74 per cent).
Mr Abbott won’t say whether he supports a plebiscite or a referendum on same-sex marriage, but believes a national vote should be kept separate from next year’s federal election.
Liberal backbencher Warren Entsch is expected to introduce his same-sex marriage bill, seconded by Labor, into parliament on Monday, but it is not expected to be voted on.
Cabinet is expected to discuss a potential people’s vote and its timing when it meets later on Monday.