Melbourne, June 25 : Australia's Attorney-General Robert McClelland has put Muslims living in polygamous marriages in the country on notice.
Polygamous marriages do exist among Australian Muslims, a sheikh with the Islamic Welfare Centre in Sydney has said.
But such relationships are illegal under the Federal Marriage Act, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.
"Everyone should be on notice that the law in Australia is that marriage is between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others," McClelland told reporters today.
"That's based on a long tradition. It's based on the culture of our community and polygamous relationships are entirely inconsistent with that culture and indeed with the law. Polygamous relationships are and will remain unlawful," he said.
Sheik Khalil Chami said on Tuesday that polygamous marriages should be recognised under law, the Daily Telegraph reported.
"Why not change the law?"' he asked.
Well-known Islamic spokesman Keysar Trad admitted he had once pursued the possibility of marrying a second woman.
McClelland said the debate on polygamous marriages was entirely different to issues surrounding same-sex marriage and discrimination of homosexual couples.
"The same-sex law reforms that we have introduced remove discrimination. But we've confirmed and reiterated a number of times that the Marriage Act defines marriage as being between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others so a polygamous marriage necessarily offends that definition and we won't be changing it," he added.