Same-sex mar­riage by Christ­mas, PM vows

The Timaru Herald - - WORLD -

AUS­TRALIA: Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull wants fed­eral par­lia­ment to ap­prove same-sex mar­riage laws be­fore Christ­mas af­ter Aus­tralians de­liv­ered their ‘‘un­equiv­o­cal’’ ap­proval in a vol­un­tary postal sur­vey.

‘‘It is our job now to get on with it, and get this done,’’ Turn­bull said yes­ter­day, shortly af­ter the Australian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics an­nounced a 61.6 per cent ‘‘yes’’ vote.

‘‘I say to all Aus­tralians, what­ever your views on this is­sue may be, 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.’’

A ma­jor­ity ‘‘yes’’ vote was recorded in 133 of the 150 fed­eral elec­torates across the coun­try. Every state and ter­ri­tory recorded a ma­jor­ity ‘‘yes’’ re­sult ex­cept for New South Wales, which re­turned less than 60 per cent ap­proval.

More than 12.7 mil­lion peo­ple - nearly 80 per cent of el­i­gi­ble vot­ers - took part in the sur­vey. Of those, 7.8 mil­lion voted yes and 4.9 mil­lion said no.

Par­lia­men­tary de­bate to le­galise same-sex mar­riage could be­gin as early as to­day.

Tears of joy flowed at Prince Al­fred Park in cen­tral Syd­ney as thou­sands of equal­ity sup­port­ers learned the re­sult of the postal vote. Singer John Paul Young launched into his hit Love Is In The Air as cou­ples kissed and friends em­braced.

As bot­tles of cham­pagne were popped and rain­bow flags flew high, Equal­ity Cam­paign or­gan­iser Alex Green­wich told the crowd it had just ex­pe­ri­enced a huge mo­ment in his­tory. ‘‘We will re­flect on this day as a day that has truly made our coun­try proud,’’ he said.

In Mel­bourne, a crowd of thou­sands who packed the lawns out­side the State Li­brary erupted with screams of joy as cham­pagne corks ex­ploded into the sky.

La­bor Party leader Bill Shorten ad­dressed the crowd, yelling ‘‘yes, yes, yes’’. He said ‘‘un­con­di­tional love al­ways has the last word’’, and apol­o­gised to the com­mu­nity for hav­ing to en­dure the postal sur­vey. – AAP

Calm down, says ab­sent PM

Ten days af­ter his sur­prise res­ig­na­tion plunged Lebanon into cri­sis and raised fears of re­gional tur­moil, Prime Min­is­ter Saad Hariri yes­ter­day called on ev­ery­one to ‘‘chill’’. In his first per­sonal tweet since trav­el­ling to Saudi Ara­bia ear­lier this month, where he an­nounced he would step down in a pre-recorded mes­sage that led many to think he was be­ing held against his will, Hariri said he planned to re­turn to Lebanon in the next two days. ‘‘Peo­ple, I am fine. And God will­ing, I will come back in a cou­ple of days. Let’s chill.’’ Hariri wrote, adding that he was in good shape. Pres­i­dent Michel Aoun has re­fused to ac­cept Hariri’s res­ig­na­tion and has urged him to come home.

Rov­ing gun­man shot dead

A gun­man killed four peo­ple and in­jured two chil­dren in a shoot­ing ram­page in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s Te­hama County yes­ter­day be­fore he was fa­tally shot by law en­force­ment. Au­thor­i­ties de­scribed a chaotic scene in which a gun­man in a stolen car ap­peared to pick tar­gets at ran­dom in the ru­ral county. They said the shoot­ings ap­peared to have be­gun as a ‘‘do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in­ci­dent’’, but did not pro­vide de­tails. The Te­hama County sher­iff’s of­fice said it was deal­ing with seven crime scenes and that 10 vic­tims were be­ing treated for in­juries.

New hope for ba­nanas

The multi­bil­lion-dol­lar global ba­nana in­dus­try, at risk from a deadly dis­ease, could be saved by a sci­en­tific break­through by an Australian univer­sity. The Queens­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy has ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied Cavendish ba­nanas us­ing a wild gene, re­sult­ing in strongly re­sis­tant and Panama (TR4) dis­ease-free plants across a three-year trial. Trial leader Pro­fes­sor James Dale said it was a ma­jor step to­wards pro­tect­ing the US$12 bil­lion (NZ$17.5b) Cavendish global ex­port busi­ness. ‘‘TR4 can re­main in the soil for more than 40 years, and there is no ef­fec­tive chem­i­cal con­trol for it. It is a huge prob­lem,’’ he said. The dis­ease has dev­as­tated Cavendish plan­ta­tions in many parts of the world and is spread­ing rapidly across Asia, and was found at a far north Queens­land farm ear­lier this year.

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Sup­port­ers of same-sex mar­riage cel­e­brate out­side the State Li­brary in Mel­bourne af­ter the re­sult of the postal sur­vey - a 61.6 per cent ‘‘yes’’ vote - is an­nounced. Aus­tralia’s fed­eral par­lia­ment is set to de­bate a law change.

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