Historic vote

Australians have said YES to same-sex marriage.

Hatch has the verdict and all the reaction.

Wrapping up for the day: An overwhelming majority of Australians have called for change and acceptance, for the recognition of same-sex marriage.

The ABS received 12.8 million responses from the 16 million eligible voters canvassed. The tally showed 61.6 per cent of those voted yes to same-sex marriage, in line with recent predictions.

The head of the ABS, David Kalisch, acknowledged the extraordinarily high response to a non-compulsory process of consultation. The participation rate exceeded those for both Brexit and the 2016 US presidential election.

The vast majority of the No campaigners have been gracious in defeat, with many politicians declaring they will vote in accordance with their electorates’ wishes even if they disagree with the verdict.

Attention now turns to Canberra, where the people’s will must be translated into legislation. Both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten have said they want to expedite a change in the law – preferably by Christmas. Competing bills have already been flagged, one focusing very heavily on the protection of the “rights” of people who disapprove of and do not wish to acknowledge gay marriage – or gay anything. To effect change, the upper and lower houses now need to agree to some form of compromise that will be acceptable to a simple majority.

13:20 The political Yes lobby must be too busy celebrating to say much! Most commentary is coming from the defeated No camp. Not all found the strength to accepted the decision gracefully. Tasmania’s Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, announced that he regretted the decision of his fellow Australians “but the way our system works you’ve got to respect it”. Damn… that’s the problem with democracies, isn’t it?

He also has made it very clear he plans to push for the Bill to change the law to embrace a full armoury of “the fundamental virtues and values inherent and imbedded in liberal beliefs”. Thst sounds like the Senate is in for some heated debate about his pet topics – “parental rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of conscientious”.

12:50 George Christensen, Liberal National MP for Dawson, one of the more conservative Coalition members, has acknowledged his electorate’s Yes vote (55.1 per cent Yes) and undertakes to support a Bill for equality on condition it embraces very strict protections:

“Regarding the marriage survey,” he said on Facebook, “I said repeatedly and specifically that I would not vote against my electorate’s wishes. The result in the seat of Dawson is lower support than the national average for changing marriage but it is still to change it.

“As such, if the Patterson Bill is put forward or the protections that are in it are put into another marriage Bill, I will vote yes.”

12:45 Tony Abbott’s response, posted on his Facebook account, reads:

“I always said this was an issue where the Australian people wanted their say and today’s result demonstrates that seeking their views was the right thing to do. I congratulate the ‘yes’ campaign on their achievement.

“The people have spoken and, of course, the parliament should respect the result.”

He insists, though, that the Bill should ensure “freedom of conscience for all, not just the churches”.

12:40 Ok, now to start recouping the cost of this postal survey that told the Coalition what it knew but didn’t want to acknowledge:

12:28 And the ABS figures show that the No opinion was spread quite randomly, though socio-economic and demographic factors almost certainly contribute greatly to the trends in these electorates which headed the No results:

Blaxland, NSW (Jason Clare, Labor ): 73.9 per cent

Watson, NSW (Tony Burke, Labor ): 69.6 per cent

McMahon, NSW (Chris Bowen, Labor ): 64.9 per cent

Calwell, Victoria (Maria Vamvakinou, Labor): 56.8 per cent

Maranoa, Qld (David Littleproud, Liberal): 56.1 per cent

Kennedy, Qld (Bob Katter, Katter Australia Party ): 53.3 per cent

Bruce, Victoria (Julian Hill, Labor): 53.1 per cent

Groom, Qld (John McVeigh, Liberal): 50.8 per cent

12:20 Interesting. Even the most conservative pollies have electorates that are way more open-minded than the people they voted into Parliament!

12:18 Kevin Andrews, a loyal supporter of Tony Abbott’s anti-marriage line, has excelled himself in a TV discussion:

12:15 The Law Council of Australia has welcomed the result, and warned that Parliament should attend to changing the law people were consulted on, not tinker with other aspects of law

“The people of Australia were asked if they wanted same-sex couples to marry and they have delivered a resounding ‘yes’,” the council announced.

“They have not been asked if Australia’s anti-discrimination protections should be wound back. This important distinction should be front of mind for all Parliamentarians.

“Australians have voted for marriage equality, they have not voted to erode anti-discrimination protections. Freedom from discrimination is a fundamental human right.”

12:05 Craig Kelly, a Liberal MP, says that he will stand by his commitment to vote the way of his electorate of Hughes (58.4 per cent yes, 41.68 per cent no), saying “My electorate has come back with yes and that’s how I will be voting in the parliament.”

11.45 The Treasurer, Scott Morrison, has told a press conference “I will want to see strong religious protections in that bill.”

11:35 Lyle Shelton, the head of the Australian Christian Lobby, which led the campaign against equality, admits “we haven’t quite got to where we wanted to go…” but clearly hasn’t given up his battle against the mood for change.

“While we are naturally disappointed in today’s result, we accept and respect the decision of the Australian people…

“We will now do what we can to guard against restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of religion, to defend parents’ rights, and to protect Australian kids from being exposed to radical LGBTIQ sex and gender education in the classrooms.”

11:20 Tony Burke, Labor member for Watson, NSW, has tweeted:

11:10 Dean Smith, a WA Liberal senator, says this is “the most important electoral mandate we have seen… I accept that Australia has embraced it and given us a clear outcome.” He has written a bill that would allow marriage equality law to be passed but would give religious exemptions to churches and civil celebrants who hold the belief that marriage should be between a man and woman do not have to perform weddings.

He will urge the Senate to adopt it, saying it is “a bill that is fair, that is considered, dare I say it, the sensible centre, but one that is born out of a comprehensive careful Senate committee process.”

11:00 Gay Labor Senator Penny Wong, interviewed by the ABC, says: “Thank you, Australia, thank you for standing up for fairness… It’s time for the Parliament to do our part.

“We will do our part… it is time to change the marriage law.”

10:55 Ian Thorpe, a speaker at a rally in Sydney’s Prince Alfred Park, was asked if he now plans to tie the knot.

“I don’t have the right – Yet,” he replied. Watch this space!

10:50 Electorates most in favour in each State or territory:

VIC 84 per cent – Adam Bandt’s Green seat of Melbourne

NSW 84 per cent -Tanya Plibersek’s Labor seat of Sydney

QLD 80 per cent – Trevor Evans’s Liberal seat of Brisbane

ACT 74 per cent – Alex Brodtmann’s Labor seat of Canberra

TAS 74 per cent – Andrew Wilkie’s seat of Denison (Independent)

WA 72 per cent – Julie Bishop’s Liberal seat of Curtin

SA 70 per cent – Kate Ellis’s Labor seat of Adelaide

NT 65 per cent – Luke Gosling’s Labor seat of Solomon

10:38 The Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, was jubilant as he addressed a rally in Melbourne.

“What a fabulous day to be an Australian,” he said, told a joyful crowd in the State Library gardens. “Today we celebrate. Tomorrow we legislate.”

In a live cross to Studio Ten he thanked Australia for standing up for fairness.

“It’s time for the Parliament to do our part. We will do our part… It is time to change the marriage law.”

10:20 The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has welcomed the decision:

“The people of Australia have voted for Marriage equality,” he said in Canberra.

“The people have voted in their millions and they have voted yes for fairness, for commitment and for love. It is now up to us to to get on with it – to get on with the job the Australian people have tasked us with… We must respect the voice of the people.”

He said Parliament should now accept the people’s verdict and expedite, ideally before Christmas, the passage of a change in the law that will enable same-sex marriage.

10:05  The result of the national survey, announced by David Kalisch, head statistician of the ABS, was a resounding YES – 61.6 per cent for change to the marriage laws and only 38.4 per cent against. The trend was widespread, with 133 of the 150 lower house electorates voting for change.

Mr Kalisch said the final number of responses was 12,727,920 people, representing 79 per cent of eligible Australians: “This is outstanding for a voluntary survey and well above other voluntary surveys conducted around the world.”

The result was closest in NSW, where just 57.8 per cent of the voters supported change. In Victoria, by contrast, the Yes tally was 64.9 per cent.

Women aged between 70-74 had the highest turnout nationally at 89.8 per cent The lowest turn out was by men 25-29 with a turnout rate of 68.3 per cent. – The Hatch Newsroom Team

Contributions by Joshua Gaske, Teaghan Wilson and Emma Kosowski in Sydney and Beau Driscoll in Melbourne.