Sources close to Attorney General George Brandis have told the stirrer that the government is urgently seeking legal advice on a postal “plebiscite” on same sex marriage.
The Prime Minister has apparently decided to tough it out and wants a detailed plan to bring to the party room on Tuesday.
Meanwhile anti-plebiscite campaigners from just.equal are also seeking legal advice of their own, and hope to have some answers shortly.
This means that unless there is a major internal revolt against a postal vote, the plan to persuade the party room to support a free vote on the marriage bill being drafted by Senator Dean Smith is now dead in the water.
The only remaining chance is to force a suspension of standing orders. This raises the stakes significantly for the likes of Trent Zimmerman and Tim Wilson, who have been receiving threats of deselection from elements of the right.
The same threats were also made to long-time supporter Warren Entsch, which did not please the former crocodile hunter.
In fighting mood, the veteran Queensland MP told the ABC
“I have every right to be able to express a view,” he said. “I have every right to vote according to my conscience. I am not going to be dictated to. If they don’t like it — as I said to the president last night — disendorse me. I am not making threats, they are the ones making threats against me. I just said to him, mate don’t threaten me — do it, pull it on, bring it on.”