Same-sex mar­riage by Christ­mas, PM vows

Waikato Times - - 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. Draft laws were in­tro­duced to par­lia­ment yes­ter­day, with a group of cross-party se­na­tors sup­port­ing Lib­eral se­na­tor Dean Smith’s bill.

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.

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.’’

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. He said ‘‘un­con­di­tional love al­ways has the last word’’, and apol­o­gised to the com­mu­nity for hav­ing to en­dure the postal sur­vey.

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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