The coalition remains confident of passing long-awaited religious discrimination laws, despite opposition to the laws from within the government.
The coalition partyroom agreed to amendments to the bill on Monday, which would include a clause in the Sex Discrimination Act banning religious schools from expelling students based on their sexuality.
However, schools would still be able to expel transgender students in order "to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of adherents of that religion or creed".
Multiple moderate MPs within the coalition have expressed concern with the amendments, including Tasmanian MP Bridget Archer who said she would cross the floor on the issue.
Labor MP Stephen Jones gave an emotional speech on the floor of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, and said the bill should not be rushed through.
He paid tribute in the speech to his 15-year-old nephew Ollie, who took his own life earlier this year.
"He was gay, he was uncertain about his gender... but now he's gone and we're no longer able to love and support him on his journey through life," he said.
"It's about all of our kids, about the families of those kids, every child who's had the courage to swim against the tide, just to be who they are."
Referencing that speech, Liberal MP Dave Sharma said it brought to light "exactly the sort of thing I'm worried about", adding he remained concerned the bill was "out of step with community attitudes".
"Children are some of the most vulnerable parts of our population, struggling with deep and confronting things about their identity and who they are," he said.
"Having their lives made more difficult by people and institutions around them... to have a legal sanction for that sort of discrimination to take place, what Stephen and his family went through, is heartbreaking."
Liberal MP Angie Bell, who previously indicated concerns with the bill, said she would now support the discrimination laws, calling the amendments a "net gain for gay rights".
"What I'm prepared to do is move the dial forward through that change to the Sex Discrimination Act," she told the ABC.
"I will continue to advocate for all Australians, including transgender kids and transgender adults and teachers, to make sure that ultimately no Australian is discriminated against."
Labor's shadow cabinet and caucus will meet on Wednesday to decide its position.
However, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has urged his federal Labor counterparts to oppose the amendments.
The first openly gay government leader in Australia said the coalition was attempting to use the discrimination laws as a wedge against Labor.
"If (Labor) wave it through without amendment and Liberal members are crossing the floor against their own government bill and Labor votes for it, that is problematic," he told ABC Radio.
Independent MP Helen Haines said Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with her last night to secure her support to pass the religious discrimination laws.
However, she said made it clear that she would not support the legislation as it stands and was a "firm no".
Despite the division in his own party about the religious discrimination laws, Mr Morrison appealed to the partyroom to "think about our team", and support the bills that would shield people from expressing their beliefs.
The coalition partyroom ultimately agreed to leave the question of broader changes to the Sex Discrimination Act, including the question of transgender student rights, to the Australian Law Reform Commission.
Debate is set to continue on the legislation in the lower house on Wednesday, but with at least 36 speakers listed it may not get to a vote until Thursday.
It then has to run the gauntlet of the Senate.
Image: Federal Parliament