Same-sex marriage to be legal 'by Christmas'
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Australians have supported same-sex marriage 61% Yes to 38.4% No
- Every state as a whole supported same-sex marriage
- Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has vowed to have laws changed by Christmas
- Tony Abbott's electorate had among the highest 'Yes' support in the country
- A Bill has successfully been introduced to the Senate.
Bill to be debated in the Senate
A BILL to legalise same-sex marriage has been introduced in the Senate just hours after the results of the same sex marriage plebiscite were revealed to the country.
Liberal senator Dean Smith's Bill to change the definition of marriage was successfully introduced in the Senate today, marking an important first step.
The Bill was co-sponsored by eight other senators.
Senator George Brandis predicted debate on the Bill would continue past next week. The Bill will then need to pass through the House of Representatives.
Liberal senator James Paterson announced he would not introduce his rival Bill, which sought conservative amendments that would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBTIQ couples for their wedding.
Result 'obviously a disappointment' to No camp
Addressing the media after the result was delivered, No representative Lyle Shelton of the Australian Christian Lobby congratulated the Yes camp on their victory.
"It's been decisive and I congratulate them," he said.
"For us here in the No camp it's obviously a disappointment - despite the valiant efforts of so many of the people in this room here today and thousands of volunteers right around the country.
"Democracy hasn't gone our way today but I thank God that we live in a free and open, democratic society and I trust those people who have been energised by this campaign will continue to participate in our democracy."
Pansy Lai, a doctor who appeared in an ad for the No campaign, was also at the No event and said she hoped people's parental rights would be protected.
"Now that the (result of the) marriage survey has come out, people will see the consequences that we have warned about," she told news.com.au.
Dr Lai said she accepted the result but it was important that people's livelihoods were not taken away if they believed in traditional marriage.
The paediatrician from Sydney's North Shore has paid a price for making her views public, with some calling for her to be deregistered.
"I think it's really sad that some people feel that because I expressed publicly a view towards traditional marriage, they feel I need to be deregistered as a doctor.
"That belief has nothing to do with the way I care about my patients.
"I think it's really important that there would be something to protect the beliefs of people, that their livelihoods are not taken away."
When asked whether the personal price was worth it, she said: "I think it's really important to see that there are people who want to take away parental rights - radical gender theory and sexuality teaching in schools - and I think these messages need to be heard."
The Coalition for Marriage has vowed to "continue defending parents' rights, and fighting for freedom of speech and freedom of belief" in the wake of their thumping defeat.
Wong in tears over survey result
Photographers inside Parliament House have captured Senator Penny Wong's emotional reaction to Australia's vote for same-sex marriage.
The Labor Senator was in tears after the news was announced.
Flanked by politicians from all parties, Senator Wong hugged Labor colleagues and was draped in a rainbow flagged.
After the announcement, Senator Wong thanked Australians for standing up for fairness and equality.
"Thank you for standing up for the sort of Australia we believe in, one that is decent, one that is fair, one that is accepting and one that turns its back on exclusion and division," she said.
Earlier this morning, Senator Wong, who is in a same-sex relationship, acknowledged that todays decision was important to her both politically, and personally.
"Well, I was actually thinking about this, this morning and I thought this is not just about lesbian and gay couples, not just about the LGBTI community, although it is about us. It is about the sort of nation we are, and it will be a very important statement about the identity of the nation," she said.
Abbott congratulates Yes campaign
Former PM and No vote advocate Tony Abbott has released a statement following the vote for same-sex marriage in Australia.
Through his Facebook page, Mr Abbott told followers he congratulated the Yes campaign, and said the Parliament should respect the vote.
"The people have spoken out and, of course, the Parliament should respect the result," he said.
"I also thank the 4.7 million Australians who supported marriage between a man and a woman."
Mr Abbott noted that the PM and Opposition Leader had both "pledged their support for freedom of religion", and indicated he wanted the Bill that is expected to be introduced to Parliament this afternoon "improved".
"So far, this process has been a credit to us as a nation and now needs to be completed in a way that keeps us the best country in the world," he said.
Meanwhile, at the Yes campaign celebrations, Mr Abbott's Christine Forster is celebrating with her fiance Virginia Edwards.
Bill Shorten: 'Tomorrow we legislate'
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has told thousands of celebrating same-sex marriage supporters they should be able to get married in December.
"Yes, yes, yes", Mr Shorten screamed to the crowd gathered to hear the result of the same-sex marriage survey in Melbourne.
"It may have been 61 per cent who voted yes in the survey, but I want to say to all LGBTIQ Australians you are 100 per cent loved, 100 per cent valued, and after the next two weeks of Parliament, 100 per cent able to marry the person that you love.
"Today we celebrate, tomorrow we legislate."
Some quick stats
Of the eligible Australians who voted, 61.6 per cent (7,817,247) voted Yes to changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry.
All states and territories returned a majority Yes result. In NSW, 58 per cent voted Yes. In Queensland, 61 per cent voted Yes. In South Australia it was 62 per cent, Victoria returned a 65 per cent Yes vote, Western Australia returned a 64 per cent Yes vote and Tasmania returned a 64 per cent Yes vote.
In the ACT, 74 per cent voted Yes, and in the Northern Territory 61 per cent voted Yes.
The ABS has released a breakdown of votes by electorate.
Perhaps the most interesting of these results is in former Prime Minister Tony Abbott's seat of Warringah, where 75 per cent voted Yes.
Mr Abbott, who led a fierce No campaign, had earlier said a No vote of 40 per cent would be a "moral victory".
The No vote didn't quite get there. Only 38 per cent of respondents voted No.
9.30AM: No camp commiserates behind closed doors
It's a sober atmosphere at the No camp where they shared their disappointment behind closed doors.
As the result broke, the disappointment was clear with some members hanging their heads.
Many of them left shortly after the media were allowed in.
Tony Abbott's electorate Warringah: 83.9% YES— Alice Workman (@workmanalice) November 14, 2017
Malcolm Turnbull Wentworth: 80.8% YES
Peter Dutton Dickson: 65.2% YES
Kevin Andrews Menzies: 57% YES
Scott Morrison Cook: 55% YES
George Christensen Dawson: 55.1% YES
Eric Abetz all Tasmania: YES
Cory Bernardi all SA: YES
9.20AM: PM commits to marriage equality before Christmas
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has pledged to deliver marriage equality following the vote for same-sex marriage.
"We must respect the voice of the people. We asked them for their opinion and they have given it to us. It is unequivocal, it is overwhelming," Mr Turnbull said at a press conference minutes after the results were released.
"They are our masters, we who were elected to parliament. It is our job now to get on with it, get on with it and get this done. It is fair. The people have voted yes for marriage equality. Now it is our job to deliver it."
Mr Turnbull acknowledged that Australians had "spoken in their millions" and voted overwhelmingly Yes for marriage equality.
"They voted yes for fairness, yes for commitment, yes for love. And now it is up to us here in the parliament of Australia to get on with it, to get on with the job the Australian people have tasked us to do and get this done," he said.
"This year, before Christmas - that must be our commitment."
'Love has had a landslide victory'
Australian Marriage Equality co-chair Alex Greenwich has led celebrations from the Yes campaign's Sydney event.
"Love has had a landslide victory," he told the crowd of thousands.\
"This is an unequivocal mandate to get in and get this done."
Australia votes yes
Ausralians have voted in favour of changing the law to allow same-sex marriage.
Australian Statistician David Kalisch announced the results of the ABS postal survey from Canberra, confirming the survey had delivered a Yes result.
Of 12.7 million votes, 61 per cent were returned in favour of same-sex marriage.
The final participation rate accoutned for 79.5 per cent of eligible voters.
61.6pc YES— Bonnie Malkin (@bonniemalkin) November 14, 2017
Nationwide yes chants now pls— Luke Lancaster (@LGLancaster) November 14, 2017
EARLIER: IT'S a red-letter day as Australia anxiously awaits the results of the same-sex marriage postal survey.
After months of fierce debate on both sides, supporters of marriage equality are expected to emerge victorious. Newspoll results published yesterday saw the Yes vote climb to 63 per cent.
While the No campaign was off to a flying start in the early weeks of the survey, it only secured 27 per cent support among those who already voted.
Yes voters have their fingers crossed the polls are accurate and not some Brexit or Trump-style aberration.
More than 12.6 million ballots were received before the survey officially closed. According to the latest estimate, 78.5 per cent of eligible voters had returned a ballot as of Friday.
The Turnbull government has promised to move a bill in parliament if there is a majority Yes vote in support of same-sex marriage.
ABS chief statistician David W. Kalisch will announce the highly anticipated results of the postal survey at 10am AEDT or 9AM in Queensland.
How the announcement will play out
We're less than an hour out from learning the result of the same-sex marriage survey and campaign events are getting under way.
The result will be revealed at 10am AEDT, live from the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Canberra. Australian Statistician David Kalisch will be on the mic announcing the final tally.
Ahead of the public announcement, Mr Kalisch will inform Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, as well as a select number of representatives from both the Yes and No camps.
After the answer is revealed, the Yes campaign and parliamentary sponsors of the same-sex marriage bill have press conferences scheduled.
We're expecting to hear from the No campaign as well, but they haven't made any public announcements about how they will respond to the news.
'A great day for our country'
Liberal MP and same-sex marriage advocate Tim Wilson has declared today's same-sex marriage survey announcement will mark a "great day" for Australia.
"I think Australians are going to come out in very strong numbers and send a message to the community that they want a more equal, more inclusive society. One where everyone's treated with respect and dignity, where we believe in a society built on commitment and responsibility," he told Sky News.
"I think it's going to be a great day for our country."
What if it's No?
Labor Senator Penny Wong says if the same-sex marriage survey returns a No result, then Labor would aim to legislate for marriage equality.
"That would be pretty hard, wouldn't it," she told ABC radio when asked about the possibility of a vote against same-sex marriage.
"It would be emotionally difficult for a lot of people. Even if there's a No vote, if we want the next election we will legislate. We would have to pick ourselves up."