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The Australian
The Australian
Marriage Law Postal Survey was a national survey that gauged support for legalising same-sex marriage in Australia. The survey was held via the postal service between 12 September and 7 November 2017. Unlike voting in elections and referendums, which is compulsory in Australia, responding to the survey was voluntary. A survey form, instructions, and a reply-paid envelope were mailed out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics
Australian Bureau of Statistics
(ABS) to every person on the federal electoral roll, asking the question "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?" The ABS outlined processes to ensure eligible Australians lacking access to post could participate.[2] The survey returned 7,817,247 (61.6%) "Yes" responses and 4,873,987 (38.4%) "No" responses. An additional 36,686 (0.3%) responses were unclear and the total turnout was 12,727,920 (79.5%).[3] Prior to the survey, the Liberal–National Coalition government had pledged to facilitate a private member's bill to legalise same-sex marriage in the Parliament in the event of a "Yes" outcome. This allowed parliamentary debate and a vote eventually leading to the legalisation of same-sex marriage.[4] Both the Coalition and the opposition Labor Party allowed their MPs a conscience vote on the relevant legislation. Had the survey returned a majority "No" result, the government said it would not allow a parliamentary debate or vote on legalising same-sex marriage. Many same-sex marriage proponents were critical of the postal survey, viewing it as a costly delay and legally redundant to holding a conscience vote on same-sex marriage in the parliament.[5] The survey was subject to two legal challenges questioning the authority of the ABS to conduct the survey and the government's right to fund the cost of the survey from funds designated by law for "urgent" and "unforeseen" circumstances. Both legal challenges failed; the High Court of Australia
Australia
found that the survey was lawful. Adults on the electoral roll in Australia
Australia
as of 24 August 2017 were eligible to participate. By this date 98,000 new voters had added themselves to the roll, which was at a record high. Survey forms were distributed from 12 September with the ABS encouraging returns promptly (preferably to be received before 27 October to ensure sufficient processing time). The survey closed on 7 November and the results were released on 15 November 2017.

Contents

1 Background

1.1 History 1.2 Key dates

2 Legal challenges

2.1 High Court ruling

3 Survey process

3.1 Weekly estimate of responses

4 Question 5 Legislation proposed 6 Support and opposition

6.1 Party positions in a parliamentary vote 6.2 "Yes" campaign 6.3 "No" campaign 6.4 Neutral

7 Public opinion

7.1 Voting intentions 7.2 Likelihood of voting in the survey

8 Activities during the campaign

8.1 Advocacy by territory and local governments 8.2 Debate over freedom of religion 8.3 Advertising and media 8.4 Discussion of impact on children 8.5 Counselling for those impacted and mental health 8.6 Vandalism and abuse

9 Result

9.1 National result 9.2 State and territory breakdown 9.3 Electorate breakdown 9.4 Demographic factors

10 Aftermath

10.1 Marriage Amendment Act 10.2 Response to results

10.2.1 Democratic representation

11 See also

11.1 Other same-sex marriage referendums

12 Notes 13 References 14 External links

Background[edit] History[edit] See also: History of same-sex marriage in Australia Marriage in Australia, the constitutional province of the federal parliament, was legally defined as a union as between a man and a woman in 2004.[6] At the time of the survey, same-sex unions in Australia
Australia
were treated as de facto unions under federal law. These unions provide couples with most, though not all, of the legal rights of marriage, although those rights may be difficult to assert and are not always recognised in practice.[7][8] Aside from the legal aspects, de facto relationships do not have the same symbolic significance as marriage.[9] Before the July 2016 federal election, the Coalition Turnbull government
Turnbull government
promised to hold a national vote on same-sex marriage in the form of a compulsory plebiscite.[10] Opposition to this idea centred on its criticism as an expensive delaying tactic and that it was the duty of the parliament, rather than a matter related to the Australian Constitution.[11] While the Coalition won 76 of the 150 seats in the lower house in the 2016 election and managed to form a majority government by one seat, they failed to pass the necessary legislation for a (compulsory attendance) referendum/plebiscite. The legislation passed the House of Representatives on 20 October 2016 by a vote of 76–67, but was rejected by the Senate on 7 November 2016 by a vote of 33–29.[12][13] The idea of a postal plebiscite was originally proposed by Warren Entsch
Warren Entsch
and later endorsed by Peter Dutton and Mathias Cormann.[14] Dutton pointed out that a postal vote would not need legislation to operate.[15] A staffer of George Brandis came up with the idea of a survey as an alternative way to fulfil the commitment in mid-July.[16] In August 2017, following an attempt by five Liberal Party MPs to change party policy and have a free vote in the parliament on same-sex marriage legislation,[17] the government announced it would move for a voluntary postal survey to be held later that year.[18] It was stated that this would only occur in the event the government's (compulsory) referendum/plebiscite legislation was again rejected by the Senate. That occurred on 9 August 2017, when a government-initiated motion in the Senate to debate the Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016 was tied at 31–31; resulting in the motion being defeated.[19] Following the result in the Senate, the government directed the Australian Statistician to begin the process of surveying the views on same-sex marriage of all Australians on the electoral roll.[20] The government asserted that this proposal did not require legislative approval from the parliament, arguing that the provisions of the Appropriations Act and the law governing the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) enabled it to use the ABS for such a purpose.[21] This was argued by the government to be similar to the process by which God Save the Queen
God Save the Queen
was replaced by Advance Australia
Australia
Fair as the Australian national anthem.[22] The government announced the ABS would be assisted by having staff seconded from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), the organisation responsible for elections in Australia
Australia
and managing the electoral roll.[23] The cost of the survey to the Australian taxpayer was forecast to be $122 million, however the total amount spent ended up being $80.5 million.[1][18] This expense, as well as the notion that the debate would activate ideological extremists and that normal electoral rules would not apply, were criticised in Parliament.[24] By 7 September, the date the high court challenges against the survey were heard, a total of $14.1 million had already been spent by the ABS on the postal survey – $8 million on advertising for the survey, $5.3 million on printing costs, and $600,000 for staff.[25] The AEC reported that about 68,000 enrolment transactions were completed on 10 August, compared with an average of 4,000 per day.[26] In the period 8–14 August over 16,000 people had enrolled, and over 200,000 have updated their details.[27] By 20 August, over 36,000 had enrolled, and over 434,000 had updated their enrolment details.[28] By 22 August, over 54,000 had enrolled.[29] By 25 August the roll achieved a record high with over 16 million Australians on the roll (an additional 90,000 people had joined with a further 165,000 transactions still to be processed).[30] 65,000 of these new voters are between the ages of 18 and 24.[31] With 933,592 enrolment transactions completed by the AEC at the end of processing, more than 98,000 people were added to the roll, and the total number of Australians eligible to participate in the survey was 16,005,998.[32] However, after the results of the survey were released, the ABS revealed that in fact 16,006,180 surveys were mailed out to eligible Australians.[33] The Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee opened a Public Inquiry into the arrangements around the postal survey on 14 August[34] with a submission made and evidence given by the ABS at hearings on 17 August. Further hearings involving the ABS, AEC, Australia
Australia
Post, Department of Finance and Department of Human Services occurred on 7 September and 15 September 2017. The committee handed down the final report on 13 February 2018. The report recommended that the survey process should not be used again for matters of human rights, encouraged the government to further fund mental health and LGBTIQ
LGBTIQ
organisations to mitigate the impact of the postal survey, and recommended that the Australian Electoral Commission
Australian Electoral Commission
increase its voter registration and education efforts in remote communities and work with Indigenous peak bodies to achieve greater participation.[35][34] Key dates[edit] Key dates relating to the survey were:[36][37]

24 August 2017: The final day for citizens to update or add their name and details to the electoral roll in order to receive a survey form 12 September 2017: Survey forms began to be mailed out to all Australian voters over a two-week period 25 September 2017: The date all survey forms were expected to have arrived, and eligible Australians could commence ordering replacement materials (for those lost or spoilt). The paperless options (online form and IVR telephony survey option) opened. 20 October 2017 (6 pm local time): Requests for replacement material closed 27 October 2017: The date all eligible Australians were strongly encouraged to return their form by 7 November 2017 (6 pm local time): Responses received after this date were not processed 15 November 2017 (10 am AEDT): Statistics, and quality and integrity report released to the public

The result of the survey (including participation rates) were released at a national level, at a state and territory level and at an electorate level.[2] Legal challenges[edit] Main article: Wilkie v Commonwealth Two legal challenges were lodged contesting the legality of the survey with the High Court of Australia, both on the grounds of unlawful funding from legally-specified funds and unlawful operation by the ABS. The first was by same-sex marriage advocates Shelley Argent (national spokeswoman of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and Felicity Marlowe (member of Rainbow Families), along with independent MP Andrew Wilkie. They announced they would challenge the postal survey in the High Court on 9 August 2017 and seek a temporary injunction.[38][39] The second challenge was by Australian Marriage Equality and Greens Senator Janet Rice.[40][41] An additional complaint was lodged by a 17-year-old boy with the Australian Human Rights Commission
Australian Human Rights Commission
in August 2017, on the basis that the rules did not allow provisionally enrolled 16- and 17-year-old Australians the right to participate in the survey.[42][43] The complaint could have led to a federal court case to argue for the right of about 50,000 Australians aged 16 and 17 on the electoral roll to vote, however the boy dropped his complaint on 22 September, after a Greens amendment to the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Act 2017 was rejected by the Parliament earlier in the month.[44] Legal counsel to the boy advised that the rejected amendment would make the age discrimination complaint much more difficult to argue, because parliament had considered and rejected extending the vote to enrolled 16- and 17-year-olds.[44] High Court ruling[edit] The High Court pronounced its orders in both cases on 7 September 2017. The court determined that the survey was lawful, allowing it to proceed as scheduled.[45][46] The challengers were ordered to pay costs.[47] The High Court handed down its unanimous reasons on 28 September 2017, finding that $295 million had been appropriated by parliament, and that whether the expenditure was unforeseen was a matter for the Minister's satisfaction and there was no error of law in either his reasoning or his conclusion. The information to be collected was "statistical information" of matters prescribed in the Census and Statistics Regulation 2016 (Cth). As the court had considered and rejected the grounds of the application, there was no need to decide whether or not whether the plaintiffs had standing.[48][49] Survey process[edit] The survey was conducted on a voluntary basis, with no requirement on the part of the eligible Australian to mail back the survey form. This led to concerns over a potentially low voter turnout/response rate and the prospect of Indigenous Australians
Indigenous Australians
in remote communities being unable to complete a survey.[50][51] Concern had been expressed regarding: electors whose addresses were not visible on the electoral roll (known as silent electors);[52] disenfranchisement in remote communities;[53] Australians overseas;[54] prisoners;[55] non-English speakers;[56] and young people.[57][58] Early criticism was also levelled at issues of privacy, with the recent census problems of 2016 being cited.[59] The ABS advised that survey responses would be anonymous and protected under the secrecy provisions of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.[60] Prior to the survey commencing, former Privacy Commissioner Malcolm Crompton independently reviewed the ABS's privacy approaches and mitigations and announced he was suitably satisfied.[61] The ABS also worked to address concerns with special strategies like paperless options (telephony and online form) and form drop off and pick up points in remote and capital city locations.[62] Additionally, the bureau noted that Australians could also authorise a "trusted person" to complete the survey on their behalf.[2] Whilst any person could be appointed a "trusted person", the Chief Minister of the ACT, Andrew Barr
Andrew Barr
offered to fulfil the role for any citizen.[63][64] Auditors and an external observer process were established to assure the integrity of the process, though the observers are subject to a lifetime confidentiality agreement.[65] A quality and integrity report was published by the ABS alongside the release of the survey results.[2] During the survey period, online sellers were contacted by the ABS asking them to remove ads by people offering to sell their postal survey or answer. The ABS advised that such an action would likely constitute an offence under the Census and Statistics Act 1905, the Commonwealth Criminal Code and the survey safeguards legislation passed by Parliament.[66][67] The Digital Transformation Agency assisted the ABS with the paperless options for the survey, though due to the compressed timescale of the survey, concerns were anonymously raised by staff that the normal processes were not completed, such as sufficient user testing.[68] A telephone information hotline was established, and received 206,828 calls between 14 August 2017 and 7 November 2017.[69] Unlike elections or referendums, there were no automatic special regulations relating to advertising requirements or prohibited content for the survey of the kind found in the Electoral Act.[70] Consequently, the Government and Opposition engaged in negotiations to introduce legislation designed to replicate these types of regulations, as well as create measures to prevent vilification, intimidation, or threats to cause harm on the basis of the sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status or the religious convictions of someone during the survey period.[71] On 13 September, the government introduced the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Bill 2017 for these purposes in the Senate.[72] The bill passed the Senate, after an amendment moved by Greens leader Richard Di Natale to allow 16- and 17-year-olds the right to participate in the survey was defeated. The bill immediately proceeded to and was passed by the House of Representatives.[72] The bill received royal assent on 13 September and went into effect the following day.[72][73] The Act's provisions automatically expired on 15 November 2017.[73] Neither the "Yes" or "No" campaign received public funding in the survey, as was envisioned for a compulsory attendance plebiscite.[74] Prime Minister Turnbull also ruled out a ban on foreign donations for the survey.[75] All Australians whose names are on the electoral roll or had applied to be put on the roll before 24 August 2017 were mailed a survey form and enrolled Australians living overseas along with those in certain special categories were entitled to complete a survey using paperless methods.[76][77] The AEC made a statement that provisionally-enrolled 16- and 17-year-olds would not be posted a survey form[78] and an amended direction was later issued by the Government to the Australian Statistician making this clear.[79] This direction was subject to a Human Rights Commission complaint by a 17-year-old boy, which was later withdrawn.[80][44] More than 16 million letters were sent from 12 September over almost two weeks (with all delivered by 25 September) and silent electors' packages were sent by the AEC and delivered by the end of September.[81][82] After several "Yes" respondents posted images of their complete forms on social media, the ABS cautioned participants to not photograph their form barcodes, so as to prevent any fraudulent conduct. Additionally, survey forms could be invalidated in the event the question was rephrased by the participant or the barcode was obscured or removed.[83] The ABS issued several examples of what constituted a valid and invalid response (such as marking both boxes "Yes" and "No" or crossing out one of the words on the form).[84] The ABS advised Australians who received extra survey forms, addressed to the previous occupant who failed to update their electoral details, to write on the front of the envelope "return to sender" and send it back.[85] In Australia, it is illegal to open mail addressed to another person.[86] In the rare instance of multiple responses being received from an individual, the ABS noted that only the last valid response could expect to be counted.[87] On 25 September, the ABS confirmed that all survey forms had been mailed to eligible voters and outlined the process for additional forms to be sent to people who did not receive, lost or spoilt their form.[88] The ABS also confirmed that changing your mind was not a valid reason for requesting a new form.[89] Both the "Yes" and "No" campaigns provided 60 observers to the ABS counting process,[90] who examined 606,991 survey results. Fewer than 500 survey forms were reported as issues to the ABS during the survey.[91] Weekly estimate of responses[edit] On 28 September, the ABS announced that it would release weekly national estimates of the total number of survey responses received, beginning from 3 October 2017 and ending 7 November. The primary input to the first three weekly estimates, issued at the National level only, was Australia
Australia
Post's assessment of the number of containers of sorted envelopes rather than counts of individual forms. Adjustments were made based on factors such as responses received through other channels and an allowance for forms that are damaged or invalid. From the fourth estimate, released on 24 October 2017, the ABS changed the estimation method to use the counts of processed forms. This led to an increase in estimated turnout to 74.5% of the population, up 7.0% on the previous week, despite only 300,000 new responses, or 1.9% of the total, being received during that timeframe.[92]

Week[93] Estimated responses Estimated rate of response

3 October 9,200,000 57.5%

10 October 10,000,000 62.5%

17 October 10,800,000 67.5%

24 October 11,900,000 74.5%

31 October 12,300,000 77.0%

7 November 12,600,000 78.5%

Question[edit]

Sample image of the survey form

The survey form asked respondents: "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?". The survey offered two one-word responses: "yes" or "no".[2] Legislation proposed[edit] The government did not release a draft bill legalising same-sex marriage prior to the survey, which led to uncertainty over what form legislation would take in the event of a "Yes" verdict.[94] The wording of an exposure draft of a same-sex marriage bill from early 2017, released by the Attorney-General's office, proposed to amend the definition of "marriage" and replace the terms "man" and "woman" with the gender neutral phrase "two people".[95] The proposed wording "two people"[96] differs from the wording of the survey question, which refers explicitly to "same-sex couples".[97][98] Liberal Senator Dean Smith, who drafted a same-sex marriage bill in August 2017, argued his bill struck a "fair balance" in protecting the rights of same-sex couples and the religious freedoms of celebrants.[99] The bill allows current civil celebrants to become religious celebrants and refuse to perform same sex marriages, and incorporates parts of the Sex Discrimination Act, to allow religious organisations to refuse their services for same-sex marriages.[100] Smith’s bill was formally backed by the Labor Party parliamentary caucus on 17 October 2017.[101] However, conservative MPs in the government responded by suggesting up to 100 amendments to the bill may be needed if the "Yes" vote carried.[99] A rival bill was released on 13 November by Liberal Senator James Paterson, a conservative supporter of same-sex marriage.[102] The bill contained various protections allowing the refusal of same-sex weddings by anyone who holds a religious or "conscientious belief" against same-sex marriage, including private service providers such as florists and bakers.[103][104] Prime Minister Turnbull reacted negatively to Paterson's bill, saying the government "would not countenance" supporting a bill which discriminated against same-sex weddings and that the bill would have "virtually no prospect of getting through the Parliament".[105] It was dropped by Senator Paterson within hours of the "Yes" vote being released.[106] Support and opposition[edit] Main article: Endorsements in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey Party positions in a parliamentary vote[edit] These are the official positions held by political parties in the Australian Parliament with regard to the issue of same-sex marriage. The Australian Labor Party
Australian Labor Party
official position is in support of same-sex marriage, though any MPs and Senators are not bound vote for it in Parliament until 2019.[107] The Liberal Party position in regard to same-sex marriage is to hold a plebiscite of some kind before any change to the law is made; though the party had no official position on the survey question, hence Liberal MPs (including Cabinet members) were free to campaign and vote for either side,[108] and all politicians were entitled to use their electoral printing and communications budget to campaign.[109] MPs may, in the event of a vote, choose to vote according to how their individual electorates respond to the survey, or according to how the national result turns out, or according to their own consciences.[110]

Position Political parties Ref

Yes

Australian Greens [111]

Labor Party* [112]

Nick Xenophon Team [113]

Derryn Hinch's Justice Party [114]

Liberal Democratic Party [115]

No

Australian Conservatives [116]

National Party [108]

Katter's Australian Party [117]

Subject to public vote

Jacqui Lambie Network [118]

Liberal Party [108]

One Nation* [119]

* Conscience vote allowed for MPs.

"Yes" campaign[edit] The campaign for supporting voting in favour of same-sex marriage in the survey received support from Labor,[120] the Liberals and Nationals for yes campaign,[121] and four minor political parties represented in the Federal parliament, and from prominent lobby groups including Australian Marriage Equality
Australian Marriage Equality
and GetUp!.[122][123] "No" campaign[edit] The campaign advocating voting against changing the marriage laws in the survey was supported by the Nationals[108] and three minor parties represented in the Federal parliament. Several groups opposed to same-sex marriage, including the Australian Christian Lobby
Australian Christian Lobby
and the Marriage Alliance, formed the Coalition for Marriage to co-ordinate the "No" campaign.[124][125][126] Neutral[edit] The Liberal Party of Australia
Australia
did not hold a position either way in the survey.[108] Public opinion[edit] Main article: Public opinion of same-sex marriage in Australia Opinion polls
Opinion polls
in Australia
Australia
over several years in the lead-up to the survey indicated a comfortable majority of Australians supported same-sex marriage.[127][128][129][130] A Guardian Essential poll conducted just prior to the announcement of the postal survey indicated that 43% approved of a postal vote and 38% disapproved,[131] whereas a week later, 39% approved of the postal survey and 47% disapproved of it.[132] A small boycott movement existed, although most same sex marriage campaigners who were against a national vote on same-sex marriage urged participation in the postal survey.[133] Some informal responses to the survey were intended as a protest vote.[134] Voting intentions[edit]

Date Firm Yes No Undecided Sample size Notes

9–12 November 2017 Newspoll[135] 63% 37% – 1,625 [N 1]

3–6 November 2017 Essential[136][137] 64% 31% 5% 1,792 [N 1]

26–30 October 2017 Galaxy Research[138][139] 66% 34% N/A 1,000 [N 1]

26–29 October 2017 EMRS[140] 64% 28% N/A 1,000

26–29 October 2017 Newspoll[141][142] 62% 35% 3% 1,623 [N 1]

59% 35% 6% [N 2]

12–22 October 2017 Essential[143][144] 60% 34% 5% 1,859 [N 1]

39% 33% 28% [N 3]

12–16 October 2017 YouGov[145][146] 61% 35% 3% 1,067 [N 1]

54% 28% 18% [N 3]

12–15 October 2017 Newspoll[147][148] 56% 37% 7% 1,583

6–8 October 2017 Roy Morgan Research[149] 61.5% 17.5% N/A 1,554 [N 4]

2 October 2017 ReachTEL[150][151] 70.3% 21.1% N/A 4,888 [N 5]

28 September – 1 October 2017 Essential[152][153] 64% 30% 6% 1,841 [N 1]

50% 36% 14% [N 3]

22–25 September 2017 Essential[154][155] 58% 33% 9% 1,803

21–24 September 2017 Newspoll[156] 57% 34% 9% 1,695

15–18 September 2017 Essential[157][158] 55% 34% 11% 1,808

14–18 September 2017 YouGov[159][160] 59% 33% 9% 1,056

6–9 September 2017 Ipsos[161] 70% N/A N/A 1,400

28 August – 6 September 2017 Newgate Research[162] 58.4% 31.4% 10.2% 800

1–4 September 2017 Essential[163][164] 59% 31% 11% 1,784

17–22 August 2017 Essential[165][166] 57% 32% 11% 1,817

17–21 August 2017 YouGov[167][168] 59% 33% 8% 1,012

17–20 August 2017 Newspoll[169][170] 63% 30% 7% 1,675

Likelihood of voting in the survey[edit]

Date Firm Voted already Definitely will Probably will Probably won't Definitely won't Undecided Sample size Notes

9–12 November 2017 Newspoll[135] 79% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1,625 [N 6]

3–6 November 2017 Essential[136][137] 86% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1,792 [N 7]

26–29 October 2017 Newspoll[141] 76% 10% 5% 2% 2% 3% 1,623

12–22 October 2017 Essential[143][144] 75% 8% 4% 3% 3% 4% 1,859

12–16 October 2017 YouGov[145][146] 67% 13% 7% 3% 6% 5% 1,067

12–15 October 2017 Newspoll[147] 65% 19% 6% 2% 3% 5% 1,583

2 October 2017 ReachTEL[150] 79% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 4,888

2 October 2017 Newgate Research[171] 77% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

28 September – 1 October 2017 Essential[152][153] 47% 33% 6% 3% 3% 5% 1,841

22–25 September 2017 Essential[154][155] 36% 45% 8% 1% 2% 5% 1,803

21–24 September 2017 Newspoll[156] 15% 67% 7% 2% 2% 7% 1,695 [N 8]

15–18 September 2017 Essential[157][158] 9% 62% 12% 2% 3% 8% 1,808

6–9 September 2017 Ipsos[161] – 65% N/A N/A N/A N/A 1,400

1–4 September 2017 Essential[163][164] – 62% 16% 4% 3% 10% 1,784

23 August 2017 ReachTEL[172] – 78.7% 10% 4.1% 7.2% – 2,382 [N 9]

17–22 August 2017 Essential[165] – 63% 18% 4% 6% 9% 1,817

17–21 August 2017 YouGov[167] – 56% 17% N/A N/A N/A 1,012

17–20 August 2017 Newspoll[169] – 67% 15% 4% 3% 11% 1,675 [N 10]

Activities during the campaign[edit] Advocacy by territory and local governments[edit]

A Canberra
Canberra
bus with rainbow wrap advertising as support from the ACT Government for the city's LGBTIQ
LGBTIQ
community during the survey period.[173]

Sydney Town Hall
Sydney Town Hall
illuminated in pride colours and flying a rainbow flag in support of the "Yes" vote.

The Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly
Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly
and several local governments such as the City of Sydney
City of Sydney
took official positions supporting the "Yes" campaign.[174][175] Public servants in the ACT were warned against campaigning in the survey whilst in official uniform.[176][177] The move to offer official support was criticised by some opposition members in the ACT, and similar criticisms lead to the City of Darebin
City of Darebin
backing down on plans to restrict "No" campaigners from using council facilities.[178][179] Debate over freedom of religion[edit] Several figures and institutions supporting a "No" vote raised the issue of religious freedom during the survey period. Former Prime Minister John Howard
John Howard
rejected the assurances of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and requested that the government explicitly detail proposed religious freedom provisions to potentially be included in same-sex marriage legislation.[180][181][182] Likewise several leaders in the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
raised freedom of religion concerns, citing the case of a Tasmanian archbishop, who was requested to appear at an anti-discrimination commission after having disseminated material supporting a Christian view of marriage.[183] The veracity of the concerns over religious freedom was disputed heavily in the community. Some groups, such as the National Catholic Education Commission said they were unsure if Catholic schools could continue to teach the Catholic view of marriage in the event same-sex marriage was legalised, however academics Marion Maddox
Marion Maddox
and Carol Johnson challenged this by arguing that religious organisations would continue to be able to access exemptions from anti-discrimination laws and, consequently, remain free to refuse same-sex marriage if it is eventually introduced.[184][185] The divisions extended to the governing Liberal Party, whose president rejected claims that religious freedom could be under threat, in direct contradiction to the party's vice-president, who said that same-sex marriage would have consequences for freedom of speech, religion and association.[186][187] Both Prime Minister Turnbull and Bill Shorten, leader of the Opposition, spoke in favour of religious freedom protections, with Turnbull stating he was an even "stronger believer" in freedom of religion than same-sex marriage.[188] Shorten said the Labor Party would “make sure that concerns about religious freedom are met with and dealt with and are treated with respect”.[189] The prospect of additional religious freedom exemptions being added to existing Australian anti-discrimination law troubled some "Yes" advocates, who feared such provisions could allow service providers to discriminate on any basis, not just limited to couples' sex. Tiernan Brady described the campaign for religious freedom exemptions as "a blatant attempt to unravel existing anti-discrimination laws which serve everyone in Australia
Australia
well, not just LGBTI people".[190] In response to a Newspoll
Newspoll
question on the subject; "Do you think parliament should provide guarantees in law for freedom of conscience, belief and religion if it legislates for same-sex marriage?", 62% responded Yes, 18% responded No and 20% said they were "uncommitted".[169] In contrast, a poll conducted by Galaxy later in the survey found 78% of respondents said Yes in response to the question; "If the majority vote ‘yes’ in the postal survey, should same-sex couples be treated the same under the law compared with other couples?"[191] An inquiry into religious freedoms, headed by Philip Ruddock, was announced in November 2017. This has been interpreted as a way to allow the speedy passage of the Dean Smith bill and postpone discussions of religious freedom.[192] It is due to report on 18 May 2018.[193] Advertising and media[edit] Advertising by both sides was extensive for much of the survey period. The first television ad for the "No" campaign, revealed shortly after the campaign began, featured three women and focused on the Safe Schools education program.[194] The "Yes" campaign promptly aired a rebuttal by Dr. Kerryn Phelps.[195] A "No" supporter funded the skywritten message "Vote No" over Sydney
Sydney
in September, which was defended by Turnbull as an expression of free speech.[196] Subsequent "Yes" ads focused heavily on a concerted "get out the vote" effort, and featured high-profile figures such as Ian Thorpe
Ian Thorpe
and others posting their surveys, as well as a themed ad screened during the finale of popular television show The Bachelor.[197][198] The "Yes" campaign were also responsible for a widespread SMS
SMS
message to many Australian mobile phones which lead to some complaints over how people's numbers were obtained, however the campaign advised the numbers were generated through random dialling technology previously used in elections.[199] Both of the "No" campaign's next most prominent advertisements concentrated mostly on the notion of gender theory in school curriculum, one such ad focusing on the book The Gender Fairy
The Gender Fairy
and featuring two of the mothers from the original advertisement.[200][201][201] The other advertisement included archive footage of one of the founders of the Safe Schools program and included material alleged to have been available for viewing by year seven students which was subsequently deemed inappropriate for unrestricted viewing by the Australian Commercial Television Code of Practice.[202][203] As of mid-September, prominent "No" campaigner Lyle Shelton was mentioned across news outlets more times than the leading three "Yes" campaigners, Alex Greenwich, Tiernan Brady and Sally Rugg, combined.[204]

Rainbow flag-patterned stickers on mail boxes asking for no anti-equality or hate mail. Similar stickers were promoted as a way to show support for same-sex marriage and reduce the amount of unwanted materials received.[205]

Legislation in effect for the duration of the survey made it illegal to vilify, intimidate, threaten or harm "on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status or religion", with a fine of up to $12,600 for breaches.[206] Furthermore, all campaign material was required to be properly authorised.[207] By 26 September, marketing services group Ebiquity
Ebiquity
estimated that the lead "No" group (Coalition for Marriage) had spent about $3,975,872 on advertising, a figure higher than their estimate for the two lead "Yes" groups ( Australian Marriage Equality
Australian Marriage Equality
and the Equality Campaign), about $2,920,740.[208] Two donations of note were made in the course of the survey; $1 million was personally donated by Qantas
Qantas
CEO Alan Joyce to the "Yes" campaign, and $1 million was donated by the Anglican Diocese of Sydney
Sydney
to the "No" campaign.[209][210] Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in November that the "No" campaign had 20,000 donors who donated around $6 million to the campaign.[211] At the 2017 NRL Grand Final, American rapper Macklemore
Macklemore
was booked to perform several songs, including "Same Love".[212] The song topped the Australian charts in 2013, and was regarded as an anthem for same-sex marriage advocates during the campaign in Macklemore's home state of Washington. In the days leading up to the grand final, the single returned to the top of the Australian iTunes charts.[213] Several prominent conservative politicians voiced strong opposition to the scheduled performance of "Same Love", given its high-profile support for the "Yes" campaign during the voting period of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.[214][215] Macklemore
Macklemore
acknowledged the controversy several days before the final, but vowed to "go harder" as a result.[216] Discussion of impact on children[edit] The rights and welfare of children, particularly as it related to same-sex parenting, was occasionally discussed publicly through the survey. Organisations such as the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, the Presbyterian Church of Australia
Australia
and the Australian National Imams Council all advocated strongly for nuclear family structures during the survey.[183][217][218] A fact check article published in The Conversation, which was based on a review of the literature on outcomes for children of same-sex parents, showed equal or better outcomes for children raised by parents of the same gender.[219] Likewise, a review published late in the survey period by the Medical Journal of Australia
Australia
agreed with The Conversation's findings, but noted that the effects of being exposed to stigma and discrimination could lead to poorer public health outcomes for the children in same-sex parented families.[220] Counselling for those impacted and mental health[edit] A number of helplines, counselling services and mental health strategies were made available to LGBTIQ
LGBTIQ
people by several organisations, including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.[221] Similar services were available for Defence,[222] Victorian local councils[223] and health services such as Alfred Health.[224] State governments in Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland all allocated additional funds, ranging from $60,000 to $500,000, to LGBTIQ
LGBTIQ
mental health services.[225][226][227] Other groups, such as Slater and Gordon, the Australian Psychological Society and Minus 18 unveiled material and mechanisms designed to offer support and relief for those affected by the debate, such as parents of young children and LGBTIQ
LGBTIQ
teenagers who experienced difficulties dealing with the public discussion.[228][229][230] The survey period was associated with increases in the number of LGBTIQ
LGBTIQ
people requesting assistance for mental health issues. Reach Out Australia, which lead the pro-same-sex marriage campaign by five mental health services, reported increases (variously at) 20,[231] 30[232] and 40[233][234] per cent in clients during the survey period and crisis support service Lifeline noted a spike in calls about the impact of the survey.[235] Shorten wrote to Turnbull about increasing the funding for mental health services during the survey from the federal budget, but did not receive a response.[236] Vandalism and abuse[edit] The survey was accompanied by a variety of acts of vandalism and abuse by both parties. In September, a banner reading "Burn Churches, Not Queers" was unfurled at a Coalition for Marriage meeting,[237] and in October several churches in Victoria and New South Wales were graffitied with messages criticising "No" voters.[238][239][240] Similarly, a passenger train on the Sydney Trains
Sydney Trains
network was vandalised with messages encouraging "No" votes, including foul language and the Nazi swastika.[241] The ABC created a digital news service designed to track incidents of violence and abuse throughout the survey, with both "Yes" and "No" voters/organisations being targeted on occasions.[242] Result[edit] National result[edit]

Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey[3]

Choice Votes %

Yes 7,817,247 61.6

No 4,873,987 38.4

Valid votes 12,691,234 99.71

Invalid or blank votes 36,686 0.29

Total votes 12,727,920 100.00

Registered voters and turnout 16,006,180 79.5

State and territory breakdown[edit]

Result[3]

State/Territory Yes No Invalid Participation rate (%)

%

%

New South Wales 2,374,362 57.8 1,736,838 42.2 11,036 79.5

Victoria 2,145,629 64.9 1,161,098 35.1 11,028 81.7

Queensland 1,487,060 60.7 961,015 39.3 7,088 77.9

Western Australia 801,575 63.7 455,924 36.3 3,188 78.4

South Australia 592,528 62.5 356,247 37.5 2,778 79.7

Tasmania 191,948 63.6 109,655 36.4 805 79.7

Australian Capital Territory 175,459 74.0 61,520 26.0 534 82.5

Northern Territory 48,686 60.6 31,690 39.4 229 58.4

Total for country 7,817,247 61.6 4,873,987 38.4 36,686 79.5

Electorate breakdown[edit]

Breakdown of voting by electorate[243]

Electorate Yes (%) Yes votes No (%) No votes Formal total Participation rate (%) State/territory

Adelaide 70.10% 62,769 29.90% 26,771 89,540 81.42% South Australia

Aston 61.97% 48,455 38.03% 29,730 78,185 81.62% Victoria

Ballarat 70.54% 65,613 29.46% 27,405 93,018 81.69% Victoria

Banks 44.88% 37,736 55.12% 46,343 84,079 80.12% New South Wales

Barker 52.26% 42,498 47.74% 38,827 81,325 77.05% South Australia

Barton 43.64% 37,153 56.36% 47,984 85,137 78.05% New South Wales

Bass 61.69% 36,249 38.31% 22,510 58,759 79.18% Tasmania

Batman 71.16% 66,383 28.84% 26,906 93,289 83.94% Victoria

Bendigo 68.73% 63,412 31.27% 28,852 92,264 82.71% Victoria

Bennelong 49.84% 42,943 50.16% 43,215 86,158 81.22% New South Wales

Berowra 54.56% 48,471 45.44% 40,369 88,840 84.74% New South Wales

Blair 60.02% 47,194 39.98% 31,433 78,627 76.69% Queensland

Blaxland 26.05% 20,406 73.95% 57,926 78,332 75.22% New South Wales

Bonner 62.05% 52,139 37.95% 31,891 84,030 82.41% Queensland

Boothby 68.51% 62,139 31.49% 28,556 90,695 84.31% South Australia

Bowman 62.13% 53,529 37.87% 32,627 86,156 81.44% Queensland

Braddon 54.03% 30,054 45.97% 25,573 55,627 75.98% Tasmania

Bradfield 60.58% 53,681 39.42% 34,927 88,608 83.73% New South Wales

Brand 67.09% 51,953 32.91% 25,481 77,434 76.04% Western Australia

Brisbane 79.51% 72,812 20.49% 18,762 91,574 81.62% Queensland

Bruce 46.91% 34,644 53.09% 39,203 73,847 77.71% Victoria

Burt 56.97% 44,058 43.03% 33,275 77,333 76.21% Western Australia

Calare 60.19% 54,091 39.81% 35,779 89,870 78.06% New South Wales

Calwell 43.16% 37,839 56.84% 49,823 87,662 78.86% Victoria

Canberra 74.07% 89,590 25.93% 31,361 120,951 83.25% Australian Capital Territory

Canning 60.23% 48,486 39.77% 32,019 80,505 78.46% Western Australia

Capricornia 54.06% 39,917 45.94% 33,917 73,834 74.84% Queensland

Casey 68.06% 59,959 31.94% 28,144 88,103 84.03% Victoria

Chifley 41.31% 32,871 58.69% 46,702 79,573 73.91% New South Wales

Chisholm 61.59% 49,448 38.41% 30,844 80,292 82.42% Victoria

Cook 55.04% 47,505 44.96% 38,804 86,309 82.22% New South Wales

Corangamite 71.56% 69,723 28.44% 27,708 97,431 85.09% Victoria

Corio 67.72% 62,658 32.28% 29,865 92,523 83.57% Victoria

Cowan 58.82% 44,388 41.18% 31,075 75,463 78.01% Western Australia

Cowper 60.01% 57,493 39.99% 38,317 95,810 79.23% New South Wales

Cunningham 65.67% 60,906 34.33% 31,840 92,746 81.86% New South Wales

Curtin 72.22% 59,638 27.78% 22,943 82,581 84.05% Western Australia

Dawson 55.15% 42,539 44.85% 34,599 77,138 74.16% Queensland

Deakin 65.69% 55,464 34.31% 28,973 84,437 84.63% Victoria

Denison 73.78% 45,005 26.22% 15,992 60,997 82.37% Tasmania

Dickson 65.16% 54,206 34.84% 28,988 83,194 81.82% Queensland

Dobell 65.75% 59,475 34.25% 30,987 90,462 78.89% New South Wales

Dunkley 71.97% 62,840 28.03% 24,471 87,311 81.93% Victoria

Durack 59.16% 39,304 40.84% 27,128 66,432 67.95% Western Australia

Eden-Monaro 64.92% 57,223 35.08% 30,926 88,149 79.97% New South Wales

Fadden 61.81% 52,154 38.19% 32,218 84,372 76.33% Queensland

Fairfax 64.32% 58,510 35.68% 32,451 90,961 81.05% Queensland

Farrer 55.21% 48,432 44.79% 39,297 87,729 77.42% New South Wales

Fenner 74.01% 85,869 25.99% 30,159 116,028 81.61% Australian Capital Territory

Fisher 62.83% 52,023 37.17% 30,783 82,806 80.89% Queensland

Flinders 69.99% 68,291 30.01% 29,275 97,566 82.06% Victoria

Flynn 51.48% 39,020 48.52% 36,783 75,803 75.62% Queensland

Forde 60.55% 46,937 39.45% 30,585 77,522 76.10% Queensland

Forrest 63.80% 51,612 36.20% 29,285 80,897 78.86% Western Australia

Fowler 36.34% 27,847 63.66% 48,782 76,629 72.43% New South Wales

Franklin 68.77% 44,746 31.23% 20,322 65,068 82.74% Tasmania

Fremantle 70.09% 57,541 29.91% 24,559 82,100 80.55% Western Australia

Gellibrand 68.10% 62,045 31.90% 29,065 91,110 82.21% Victoria

Gilmore 61.98% 59,322 38.02% 36,386 95,708 80.60% New South Wales

Gippsland 60.16% 51,196 39.84% 33,910 85,106 80.75% Victoria

Goldstein 76.30% 69,726 23.70% 21,663 91,389 86.05% Victoria

Gorton 53.34% 49,834 46.66% 43,587 93,421 77.34% Victoria

Grayndler 79.89% 73,208 20.11% 18,429 91,637 85.10% New South Wales

Greenway 46.36% 38,016 53.64% 43,980 81,996 76.50% New South Wales

Grey 53.31% 40,811 46.69% 35,750 76,561 75.21% South Australia

Griffith 76.60% 69,171 23.40% 21,132 90,303 81.80% Queensland

Groom 49.16% 40,536 50.84% 41,915 82,451 79.97% Queensland

Hasluck 62.41% 47,880 37.59% 28,836 76,716 79.72% Western Australia

Herbert 62.85% 48,110 37.15% 28,441 76,551 72.13% Queensland

Higgins 78.34% 70,059 21.66% 19,375 89,434 84.36% Victoria

Hindmarsh 63.29% 57,947 36.71% 33,613 91,560 81.72% South Australia

Hinkler 50.69% 40,649 49.31% 39,548 80,197 78.21% Queensland

Holt 50.68% 47,147 49.32% 45,875 93,022 76.75% Victoria

Hotham 59.60% 47,986 40.40% 32,524 80,510 80.37% Victoria

Hughes 58.41% 51,337 41.59% 36,558 87,895 83.79% New South Wales

Hume 58.57% 51,284 41.43% 36,271 87,555 78.91% New South Wales

Hunter 64.38% 59,137 35.62% 32,723 91,860 78.48% New South Wales

Indi 63.09% 54,563 36.91% 31,925 86,488 82.09% Victoria

Isaacs 65.33% 56,645 34.67% 30,063 86,708 80.78% Victoria

Jagajaga 73.51% 65,098 26.49% 23,453 88,551 85.25% Victoria

Kennedy 46.74% 33,160 53.26% 37,784 70,944 70.50% Queensland

Kingsford Smith 64.11% 56,297 35.89% 31,510 87,807 79.72% New South Wales

Kingston 68.10% 58,863 31.90% 27,567 86,430 80.67% South Australia

Kooyong 73.67% 63,592 26.33% 22,729 86,321 85.95% Victoria

La Trobe 67.45% 61,807 32.55% 29,826 91,633 82.87% Victoria

Lalor 56.78% 57,062 43.22% 43,429 100,491 77.00% Victoria

Leichhardt 63.37% 47,750 36.63% 27,606 75,356 67.84% Queensland

Lilley 67.66% 59,991 32.34% 28,671 88,662 81.44% Queensland

Lindsay 56.17% 49,071 43.83% 38,295 87,366 76.47% New South Wales

Lingiari 54.48% 19,026 45.52% 15,898 34,924 50.13% Northern Territory

Longman 60.43% 51,268 39.57% 33,576 84,844 77.82% Queensland

Lyne 55.31% 51,416 44.69% 41,539 92,955 81.32% New South Wales

Lyons 58.70% 35,894 41.30% 25,258 61,152 78.09% Tasmania

Macarthur 52.05% 43,323 47.95% 39,907 83,230 75.37% New South Wales

Mackellar 68.01% 62,350 31.99% 29,330 91,680 84.00% New South Wales

Macquarie 63.87% 56,180 36.13% 31,778 87,958 82.67% New South Wales

Makin 60.44% 51,547 39.56% 33,743 85,290 79.55% South Australia

Mallee 54.28% 42,495 45.72% 35,795 78,290 78.76% Victoria

Maranoa 43.91% 35,475 56.09% 45,308 80,783 78.25% Queensland

Maribyrnong 59.87% 53,208 40.13% 35,658 88,866 78.97% Victoria

Mayo 64.74% 57,361 35.26% 31,247 88,608 83.75% South Australia

McEwen 65.39% 73,705 34.61% 39,007 112,712 80.75% Victoria

McMahon 35.07% 29,146 64.93% 53,967 83,113 77.85% New South Wales

McMillan 62.75% 61,479 37.25% 36,500 97,979 81.45% Victoria

McPherson 65.48% 54,034 34.52% 28,486 82,520 78.09% Queensland

Melbourne 83.69% 81,287 16.31% 15,839 97,126 82.84% Victoria

Melbourne
Melbourne
Ports 81.97% 70,589 18.03% 15,523 86,112 82.16% Victoria

Menzies 56.95% 47,137 43.05% 35,626 82,763 84.06% Victoria

Mitchell 49.10% 42,112 50.90% 43,652 85,764 81.56% New South Wales

Moncrieff 63.78% 50,566 36.22% 28,717 79,283 75.91% Queensland

Moore 67.99% 56,690 32.01% 26,690 83,380 83.17% Western Australia

Moreton 60.92% 47,418 39.08% 30,413 77,831 79.59% Queensland

Murray 57.62% 48,205 42.38% 35,452 83,657 79.58% Victoria

New England 52.52% 44,608 47.48% 40,324 84,932 76.91% New South Wales

Newcastle 74.78% 71,158 25.22% 23,999 95,157 82.69% New South Wales

North Sydney 71.79% 64,813 28.21% 25,473 90,286 83.76% New South Wales

O'Connor 56.17% 43,554 43.83% 33,987 77,541 75.73% Western Australia

Oxley 60.33% 44,655 39.67% 29,365 74,020 76.08% Queensland

Page 59.72% 55,943 40.28% 37,727 93,670 78.56% New South Wales

Parkes 52.74% 41,408 47.26% 37,108 78,516 72.56% New South Wales

Parramatta 38.38% 29,299 61.62% 47,038 76,337 74.82% New South Wales

Paterson 65.52% 60,915 34.48% 32,059 92,974 79.35% New South Wales

Pearce 63.89% 54,305 36.11% 30,699 85,004 76.35% Western Australia

Perth 71.46% 57,510 28.54% 22,967 80,477 80.55% Western Australia

Petrie 61.64% 53,144 38.36% 33,067 86,211 78.75% Queensland

Port Adelaide 61.30% 53,649 38.70% 33,869 87,518 76.31% South Australia

Rankin 54.56% 41,570 45.44% 34,621 76,191 74.53% Queensland

Reid 52.73% 43,567 47.27% 39,061 82,628 77.69% New South Wales

Richmond 67.87% 62,591 32.13% 29,625 92,216 80.28% New South Wales

Riverina 54.63% 47,333 45.37% 39,308 86,641 77.22% New South Wales

Robertson 65.72% 58,689 34.28% 30,614 89,303 81.42% New South Wales

Ryan 72.66% 64,967 27.34% 24,451 89,418 84.67% Queensland

Scullin 53.37% 48,245 46.63% 42,147 90,392 79.91% Victoria

Shortland 67.67% 62,455 32.33% 29,836 92,291 82.47% New South Wales

Solomon 65.26% 29,660 34.74% 15,792 45,452 66.81% Northern Territory

Stirling 61.11% 47,225 38.89% 30,060 77,285 78.40% Western Australia

Sturt 61.57% 52,308 38.43% 32,655 84,963 81.45% South Australia

Swan 64.66% 49,093 35.34% 26,830 75,923 77.69% Western Australia

Sydney 83.67% 76,144 16.33% 14,860 91,004 80.49% New South Wales

Tangney 61.63% 48,338 38.37% 30,090 78,428 84.04% Western Australia

Wakefield 61.00% 52,636 39.00% 33,649 86,285 75.69% South Australia

Wannon 61.01% 49,340 38.99% 31,529 80,869 81.39% Victoria

Warringah 75.01% 64,999 24.99% 21,660 86,659 83.93% New South Wales

Watson 30.36% 24,915 69.64% 57,160 82,075 76.96% New South Wales

Wentworth 80.85% 69,279 19.15% 16,410 85,689 82.57% New South Wales

Werriwa 36.26% 30,252 63.74% 53,174 83,426 74.08% New South Wales

Whitlam 62.27% 57,562 37.73% 34,879 92,441 80.08% New South Wales

Wide Bay 55.65% 46,507 44.35% 37,065 83,572 79.49% Queensland

Wills 69.95% 68,450 30.05% 29,399 97,849 82.95% Victoria

Wright 56.81% 47,109 43.19% 35,812 82,921 78.98% Queensland

Demographic factors[edit]

Australia's 150 electorates plotted between survey responses and selected demographic characteristics (derived from 2016 Australian census)

A majority of survey participants returned affirmative responses in 133 electorates. The 17 electorates with majority negative responses were predominantly in Western Sydney
Western Sydney
(12 electorates), as well as rural Queensland (three electorates) and outer suburban Melbourne
Melbourne
(two electorates). Defying a national trend, in New South Wales, country participants were more likely to vote yes than their city counterparts.[243] Most electorates either swung heavily in favour or against same sex marriage. There were only 25 electorates in which the result was between 45 and 55 per cent. In contrast, 41 electorates at the 2016 Australian federal election had two party preferred results within the same degree of margin (±5 per cent). At the 2013 election, 49 electorates were as approximately close.[244] The heavy concentration of negative responses in working class multicultural Western Sydney
Western Sydney
led to speculation about what were the underlying economic and demographic factors. The Guardian
The Guardian
noted that the portion of persons holding religious beliefs in an electorate was one of the strongest factors, calculating a -0.8 correlation between religion and responding affirmatively. Islam, followed by Oriental Orthodox and Catholicism
Catholicism
were the strongest predictors of negative responses. Affirmative responses were correlated to income and education, and to a lesser extent, being born in Australia.[245] There was a higher percentage of responses to the survey from 18 and 19 year olds than any other age group under 45, despite concerns during the survey period that this group would be disenfranchised.[246] Aftermath[edit] Marriage Amendment Act[edit] Main article: Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 Several hours after the results of the survey were released, Senator Dean Smith introduced the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 into the Australian Senate.[247] The bill amended the definition of "marriage" in the Marriage Act to recognise a "union of 2 people",[248] which would enable same-sex marriage.[247] The bill drafted by Liberal Senator James Paterson, which would have extended further protections and exemptions for people opposed to same-sex marriage was dropped, with the Senator and several conservative MPs instead deciding to offer amendments to the Smith bill during parliamentary debate.[249] There was some unresolved disagreement by politicians who advocated for a "No" result as to whether further religious protections should be added to the Smith bill as an amendment at this time or whether a later bill for this purpose should be considered.[250] The bill passed the Senate by 43 votes to 12 on 29 November 2017, with none of the amendments providing further protections and exemptions being accepted.[251] Openly gay MP and same-sex marriage advocate Tim Wilson proposed in Parliament to his partner, Ryan Bolger, who was in the public gallery.[252] Bolger accepted Wilson's proposal. It was the first known engagement on the floor of the House of Representatives.[252] The bill passed the House of Representatives without amendment on 7 December 2017.[253] It received royal assent on 8 December 2017 and came into effect the following day.[254] Existing same-sex marriages performed outside Australia
Australia
have been recognized from 9 December, while new marriages required one month's notice, and so began from 9 January 2018.[255][256] Several couples successfully applied for an exemption from the notice period,[257] and the first legal same-sex wedding under Australian law was held on 15 December 2017, with further weddings occurring the following day.[258][259] Response to results[edit] Alex Greenwich
Alex Greenwich
of the "Yes" campaign stated the survey results represented a level of "unprecedented support and momentum [that] has exceeded the expectations, not just of this campaign, but any campaign in our history".[260] Spokesperson for the "No" campaign and the Coalition for Marriage, Lyle Shelton said it was a disappointing result, but he accepted and respected the verdict of the people. Tony Abbott said the Parliament should "respect the result".[261] Speaking immediately after the survey results were released, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
Malcolm Turnbull
called the outcome "overwhelming" and recommitted to passing same-sex marriage legislation in the Parliament before Christmas.[262] Opposition Leader Bill Shorten
Bill Shorten
shared that commitment and called on conservative MPs in the government to respect the will of the people and not attempt any delaying tactics in the parliament.[263] The verdict announcement was watched and celebrated by tens of thousands of "Yes" supporters in capital cities. In Melbourne, several thousand people gathered outside the State Library of Victoria to watch the results before celebrations began in Melbourne's Lygon Street
Lygon Street
that evening.[264] The huge "Yes" vote in Victoria prompted Premier Daniel Andrews
Daniel Andrews
to label the result reflective of Victoria's reputation as "the most progressive state" in the nation.[265] A large crowd also descended on Prince Alfred Park in Sydney
Sydney
for the announcement, which included high-profile figures Magda Szubanski and Ian Thorpe
Ian Thorpe
in attendance.[266] Reflecting on the atmosphere in Sydney, local newspaper The Sydney
Sydney
Morning Herald claimed the results reflected "a momentous civil rights milestone" for Australia.[266] Smaller crowds also gathered in several locations in Canberra, Adelaide
Adelaide
and Perth
Perth
to celebrate the result.[267][268][269] In Canberra
Canberra
(capital city of the Australian Capital Territory, the jurisdiction with the highest "Yes" vote in the country), the results were celebrated festively into the night, as thousands of people forced the closure of Lonsdale Street in the city. Labor Party Senator Penny Wong's appearance onstage at the event "drew thunderous applause from a crowd of thousands".[270] The results were welcomed by many representatives of Australia's business community. Among the highest profile of them was Qantas
Qantas
CEO Alan Joyce, who called it "an amazing outcome and we should all be very proud of this amazing country", an observation shared by leaders of corporate bodies Telstra
Telstra
and ANZ Bank.[271] Businesses related to the wedding industry, such as florists, bakers and others were poised to reap the benefit of what some projected to be a multi-billion dollar boost to the industry over the following 12 months.[272] The social media coverage of the results announcement was so immense that, with more than 4000 tweets sent every second during the peak of the day, the survey results trend was more than 10 times as popular as Australia's "race that stops the nation", the Melbourne
Melbourne
Cup.[273] In celebration of the "Yes" vote, a Sydney-based visual artist painted a large, "light-hearted mural"[274] on the wall of the Botany View Hotel, Newtown, depicting Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott
with his hand down the pants of Cardinal George Pell.[275] The mural was later defaced and painted over in black paint. The visual artist said he planned to leave the defaced mural as it was, stating "when you're making public art, the reaction is important, the reaction is needed".[276] Archbishop
Archbishop
Denis Hart of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne issued a statement on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, saying the results did not change the church's understandings of marriage and noting the 4.8 million Australians who voted "No" should have their concerns recognised by "putting in place strong conscience and religious freedom protections".[277] These sentiments were shared by the leaders of the Anglican Church of Australia.[278] Reflecting on the heavily concentrated "No" vote prominent in Western Sydney
Western Sydney
electorates, Keysar Trad, former president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, labelled it "heartening" and praised the role of faith leaders in both the Muslim and Christian communities in the region.[279] Being born overseas has been noted to correlate with a "No" response and religious belief to correlate even more strongly.[280] World leaders to congratulate Australia
Australia
for the result included Nicola Sturgeon (First Minister of Scotland), Justin Trudeau
Justin Trudeau
(Prime Minister of Canada) and Theresa May
Theresa May
(Prime Minister of the United Kingdom).[281][282] The survey ran more than $40 million under its projected budget of $122 million.[283] Greens leader Richard Di Natale
Richard Di Natale
wrote to the Prime Minister requesting that some of the unused funds be redirected to mental health and other support services for LGBT Australians hurt by the campaign.[234] The survey added $26.3 million in revenue to Australia
Australia
Post.[284] Democratic representation[edit] The survey revealed differences between the views of some MPs and the majority of their constituents on this issue. Several Labor MPs in Western Sydney
Western Sydney
electorates recommitted to voting in favour of same-sex marriage legislation, despite majority "No" votes among their constituents. Labor Senator Sam Dastyari
Sam Dastyari
acknowledged this issue, noting there was a "huge disconnect" of views on same-sex marriage within traditionally Labor-held seats in Western Sydney.[285][286] Similarly, several Liberal MPs and Senators, said they would vote "No" irrespective of the result in their electorate or state.[287][288] See also[edit]

Australia
Australia
portal LGBT portal Society portal

LGBT rights in Australia

Other same-sex marriage referendums[edit]

Croatian constitutional referendum, 2013 Irish same-sex marriage referendum, 2015 Slovak same-sex marriage referendum, 2015 Slovenian same-sex marriage referendum, 2015 United States:

Maine:

Maine same-sex marriage referendum, 2009 Maine same-sex marriage referendum, 2012

Maryland same-sex marriage referendum, 2012 Washington same-sex marriage referendum, 2012

Notes[edit]

^ a b c d e f g Among respondents who voted already. ^ Among all respondents, whether they had voted already or not. ^ a b c Among respondents who have not yet voted. ^ 21% of respondents refused to answer the question or declared no intention to vote. ^ The Yes figure is a combination of people who say they have already voted yes (64.3%) and people who say they still intend to vote yes (6%). The No figure is a combination of people who say they have already voted no (15.5%) and people who say they still intend to vote no (5.7%). An additional 5.7% say that they do not intend to vote and 2.8% say they have not received a survey form. ^ 17% of respondents said they had not voted and 4% were "uncommitted" ^ 14% of respondents said they had not voted. ^ The undecided number included 5% who say they "may or may not" participate and 2% who are "uncommitted". ^ The poll asked respondents if they were "very likely, somewhat likely, somewhat unlikely or very unlikely" to participate in the survey, and did not give an option of being undecided. ^ The undecided number included 9% who say they "may or may not" participate and 3% who are "uncommitted".

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey Decommissioned Official Survey Website (Archived) Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Electoral Commission Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 ABS Report on the conduct of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey

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