Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has dismissed the idea of holding a public vote on marriage equality.

Abbott spoke after Irish voters overwhelmingly (62%) agreed to amend the Constitutions of Ireland to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, making it the first nation to do so through a public vote.

(Related: Irish voters resoundingly approve gay marriage.)

Like Ireland, polls indicate that a majority of Australians support marriage equality.

“Under the constitution, questions of marriage are the preserve of the Commonwealth Parliament,” said Abbott, an opponent of marriage equality. “I don't think anyone is suggesting the constitution needs to be changed in this respect.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said it was time for Australia to deal with the issue.

“If the Irish people can vote in favor of marriage equality, the question has to be asked, what is Tony Abbott's problem with it?” he rhetorically asked. “Most places in the world are dealing with marriage equality. Why is Tony Abbott stopping Australia [from] becoming a more modern nation?”

Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm, who has introduced a same-sex marriage bill, said that the Irish vote might improve prospects for his legislation.

“I think what's happened in Ireland is going to be good for [the] potential of my bill to get through and get a positive vote,” he said during a Sky News appearance.