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One of the Turnbull government's most senior ministers says legalising same-sex marriage could happen "sooner than everyone thinks".

Christopher Pyne suggested plans were afoot to change the government's policy of a plebiscite.

Christopher Pyne suggested plans were afoot to change the government's policy of a plebiscite.

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One of the Turnbull government's most senior ministers has been caught on tape predicting same-sex marriage could be legalised "sooner than everyone thinks".

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In comments that could antagonise the conservative forces inside the Coalition, senior Liberal moderate and Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne suggested plans were afoot to change the government's policy of a plebiscite.

Mr Pyne's remarks were made at a gathering of moderates on Friday night before the party's federal council meeting in Sydney at the weekend, according to a leaked tape obtained by News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt.

"Friends, we are in the winner's circle but we have to deliver a couple of things and one of those we've got to deliver before too long is marriage equality in this country," Mr Pyne said, according to Bolt's account of the recording.

"We're going to get it. I think it might even be sooner than everyone thinks. And your friends in Canberra are working on that outcome."

Mr Pyne, a close ally of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, boasted of the moderate faction's success since the elevation of Mr Turnbull to the leadership in September 2015.

Mr Turnbull is a supporter of same-sex marriage but has resisted allowing his party room a free vote on the issue. The government took former prime minister Tony Abbott's policy of a plebiscite to the 2016 election.

"Winner's circle": Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne. Photo: Andrew Meares

The Senate rejected the proposal in November and, while same-sex marriage has not been in the spotlight since then, moderate forces are said to have been strategising behind the scenes.

Attorney-General George Brandis, backbencher Trent Zimmerman, lobbyist and powerbroker Michael Photios and City of Sydney councillor Christine Forster, Mr Abbott's sister, were reportedly present at the Friday event.

Mr Pyne downplayed the remarks, saying he was a supporter of same-sex marriage and criticising Labor for opposing the public vote.

"The government has no plans to alter the policy," he said in a statement.

Social conservatives Treasurer Scott Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, the leader of the Nationals, dismissed the reports.

Mr Morrison said "there is no move away from the plebiscite policy".

Mr Joyce said he was concentrating on trade and agriculture.

"What happens at dinners and other parts of Sydney is of no real consequence to me," he said during a visit to London.

While the Prime Minister is aligned with the moderate faction of his party, he has won the support of conservative colleagues - and Coalition partners the Nationals - by making compromises in several policy areas.

Source : http://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au/story/4751832/pyne-suggests-gay-marriage-still-possible/

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