Australia reacts to YES vote: 'Love is love, always was love, always will be love' - Kyle Minogue

The outcome of Australia's gay marriage postal vote is in, and the outcome is YES. Follow the reaction here.

1.30pm: That concludes our live updates, reacting to the outcome of Australia's historic gay marriage postal vote, with our trans-Tasman neighbours voting to join us in legalising gay marriage, with a 61.6% majority YES vote. Sydney, at 83%, recorded the highest YES vote of any city while the town of Blaxland, at the foot of the Blue Mountains recorded the highest NO vote, at 79%.

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull is now promising to fast track new laws allowing gay marriage, with opposition leader Bill Shorten telling supporters after the vote that LGBT Aussies will be able to be married in Australia by next month.

1.22pm: Act now on gay marriage: Qld premier. The Queensland premier says federal parliament must immediately enshrine in law Australia's support for same-sex marriage.

"The decision by the majority of Australians to support marriage equality ... should be heeded by the federal parliament and their will put into law," Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement today.

"My government recognised this truth when we restored civil partnership ceremonies, removed by the LNP government, in Queensland in 2015. We didn't require a postal survey to do that."

1.15pm: Kylie...


12.58pm: PM Malcolm Turnbull:
"It is our job now to get on with it, and get this done.

"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.

"Australians have voted for a generous view of themselves, for a modern Australia, where diversity is accepted, supported and respected," he told a marriage equality rally in Melbourne.

"And I just want to make one promise, one promise: today we celebrate, tomorrow we legislate."

12.53pm: NSW records lowest 'yes' vote in nation. NSW has recorded the lowest 'yes' result for any state or territory across the nation in the same-sex marriage survey.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the results of the voluntary postal survey on Wednesday revealing that 57.8 per cent of voters in NSW said 'yes' to same-sex marriage.

"This is a proud day for Australia in many respects, not because of the vote but because of the participation of our citizens," NSW Labor spokesman Michael Daley said in parliament.

The electorate of Sydney recorded one of the highest 'yes' votes in the nation with 83.7 per cent supporting gay marriage, while Blaxland at the foot of the Blue Mountains recorded the highest 'no' vote in NSW with 73.9 per cent opposed.

12.48pm: Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has told thousands of happy 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 on Wednesday.

"It may have been 61 per cent who voted yes in the survey, but I want to say to all LGBTIQ Australians u 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."

12.42pm: This is nice, out on the Sydney Harbour after the YES vote is confirmed...

1 NEWS Australia Correspondent Kimberlee Downs was in Sydney for the historic moment. Source: 1 NEWS

12.35pm: No voters have been left disappointed. Opponents of same-sex marriage say they will fight to defend any restrictions on freedom of speech and religion as federal politicians begin work on introducing laws allowing same-sex couples to tie the knot.

The Coalition for Marriage spokesman Lyle Shelton described the 61.6 per cent 'yes' vote in the voluntary survey on same-sex marriage as disappointing, but said the group would respect the decision.

"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," he said in a statement this afternoon.

12.28pm: HOW AUSTRALIA VOTED ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE:

Yes: 61.6 per cent (7.8 million)

No: 38.4 per cent (4.9 million)

Proportion of Australians who voted: 79.5 per cent (12.7 million*)

12.23pm: There were tears, cheers, ear-to-ear grins, kisses, hugs and thousands of arms in the air as elated Melburnians celebrated victory in the same-sex marriage postal survey.

With champagne spraying and rainbow dust shooting into the sky, thousands danced to Kylie Minogue's "Celebration" outside the State Library of Victoria on Wednesday following the 'yes' result which blasted live from Canberra through massive speakers.

"This is the happiest day of my life. I've never felt this happy," James Mead, 35, said with tears streaming down his face.

1 NEWS Australia Correspondent Kimberlee Downs was in Sydney for the historic moment. Source: 1 NEWS

12.15pm: Australians have given same-sex marriage their overwhelming approval with a near 62 per cent 'yes' vote in a voluntary survey.

A majority 'yes' vote was recorded in 133 of the 150 federal electorates across the country, the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced in Canberra on Wednesday.

Every state and territory recorded a majority 'yes' result bar NSW, which returned less than 60 per cent approval.

The ACT had the highest 'yes' vote at 74 per cent.

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 Thursday.

A cross-party group of senators - led by Liberal Dean Smith and supported by senior Labor figure Penny Wong, amongst others - will introduce a private bill to the upper house on Wednesday afternoon.

This means debate could start on Thursday morning, the Senate's usual time for considering private bills.




John Armstrong's opinion: As Labour fast loses the plot, the moment of coalition unity while Jacinda Ardern outlined Government’s priorities was priceless

There’s no show without punch, and although Winston Peters did not say much, he said enough. Unlike the Prime Minister who was something of a disappointment.

Last Sunday’s carefully stage-managed display of unity by Jacinda Ardern and her deputy was not so much a case of fake news as one of fabricated news.

It was somehow befitting of the barmy politics emanating daily from the Government benches in Parliament that the coalition Government should half-celebrate its 12-month birthday having been in the job for just on 11 months.

A carefully-chosen audience was corralled on Auckland’s AUT campus to hear — or rather endure — Ardern taking close to half-an-hour to spell out her Government’s 12 priorities.

1 NEWS' Jessica Mutch and Benedict Collins give their opinions of the Acting Prime Minister who ran the country during Jacinda Ardern’s maternity leave.
Winston Peters. Source: 1 NEWS

Admittedly, it is difficult to inject excitement into a discussion of the virtues of intended alterations to the structure of the various Cabinet committees which meet weekly in the Beehive.

But one further priority would be finding a new speech writer for the Prime Minister before someone falls asleep and drowns in the verbiage. Or simply dies of boredom.

The said wordsmith's job is probably safe, however. The strict instruction from upon high would have been not to include the merest morsel of anything that those listening might find interesting — and which would detract from the whole purpose of the occasion, specifically the need for the Government to project an image as rock solid unified.

The political pantomime had one overriding objective — convincing an increasingly sceptical public that although Ardern and Peters might not always be on the same page, they are still capable of trading smiles on the same platform after 11 months of jostling one another.

While the Labour-New Zealand coalition has witnessed sporadic bouts of internal guerrilla warfare in recent times and principally on New Zealand First’s part, it is vastly over-dramatising things to suggest this so far occasional rebellion could become full-blown civil war.

So there was no chance of Peters going AWOL last Sunday. It would, however, have helped the coalition’s cause considerably had he uttered the immortal words "of course she's driving the car" during the earlier stages of the developing friction between the partners in Government. He was unwilling on Sunday to stretch the metaphor any further. But when it comes to back-seat driving or driving backwards, Peters is a master.

He has not taken on board any perceivable role as a back-room fixer for the coalition despite such a role having the capacity to alleviate some of the huge pressures weighing on Ardern’s shoulders.

He has instead exploited her inexperience as Labour’s leader and the fact that she spreads herself thin to bolster his party’s leverage within the coalition.

It is such game-play good that threatens the Government’s stability. It is not so much that the partners might clash over policy. As Ardern repeatedly notes, the coalition comprises three parties. There is always going to be disagreement over policy.

What matters is how such disputes are handled by the respective party leaderships - John Armstrong

What matters is how such disputes are handled by the respective party leaderships; whether, to use the parlance, they act on the basis of good faith and no surprises.

Ardern’s response to suggestions of disunity is to pretend there is none when she is so questioned. That is not credible.

She has now sought to brush off those claims made by her opponents by creating a distraction through repackaging her party’s priorities and relaunching them as a "coalition blueprint" under the title of Our Plan.

It would not have taken Labour’s spin-doctors long to dream up that title. It is the exact same one as used by National during the John Key-Bill English years in their similar quest to turn New Zealand into Utopia.

The only difference between Labour’s and National’s respective efforts was that Key was dismissive of such "vision documents". They might be useful in listing goals. They rarely provide detail of the means to be adopted to reach those goals. The day-to-day pressures of political life inevitably result in the prime minister of the day focusing heavily on short-term political management. Concentrating on the long-term can always be postponed to another day.

National’s various versions of vision have accordingly sunk without trace. That experience would have been a factor in Simon Bridges’ acidic observation that there was nothing in the long list of platitudes, banalities and truisms in Ardern’s blueprint which he would find hard to swallow. He isn’t wrong.

The producers of Ardern’s massive missive may have feared the same fate awaits their product as afflicted National’s equally turgid equivalent, creation.

That hurts. But Bridges is making the pertinent point that Ardern’s claim that her plan amounts to a "shared vision" of the three parties in her governing arrangement is utterly meaningless.

All it says is that the three-party grouping stretches so far across the political system that National can be accommodated with room to spare.

That makes it hard to keep the whole show on the road at the best of times.

With ministers falling like nine-pins, bureaucrats thinking nothing of splashing out $1.5 million on a justice policy summit and private consultants growing fat on the tidy sums to be made from servicing the plethora of working parties and task forces doing the work that career public servants are arguably better left to do, Labour is fast losing the plot.

But never mind. Ardern and her colleagues got what they wanted. That was a minute or two of coalition unity at the top of the six o’clock news. Given Labour’s growing malaise, that’s priceless.

The Prime Minister gave details of the Government plan during a speech in Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Baby squirrels in the US freed from tail tangle

Baby squirrels in the US state of Wisconsin have been freed after their tails became dangerously tangled together.

They were handed in at the Wisconsin Humane Society’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre which worked to save the lives of the five young grey squirrels.

They became entangled with grass and plastic strips their mother used to build a nest.

The squirrels were cut free with scissors while under anaesthetic.

"You can imagine how wiggly and unruly this frightened, distressed ball of squirrely energy was, so our first step was to anaesthetise all five of them at the same time," the centre told the BBC.

Then they began unravelling the "Gordon Knot".

"It was impossible to tell whose tail was whose, and we were increasingly concerned because all of them had suffered from varying degrees of tissue damage to their tails caused by circulatory impairment.

"The creatures will soon be free to resume a tangle-free life in the wild," the centre said.

Baby squirrels in Wisconsin have been freed after their tails became dangerously tangled together. Source: rnz.co.nz

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Woman lucky to be alive after shark takes 'big chunck' of her leg off Queensland coast

A Tasmanian mother on holiday in north Queensland's Whitsunday Islands region is lucky to be alive after a shark mauled her leg.

Justine Barwick, 46, was snorkelling at Cid Harbour on Wednesday when the attack happened leaving her with a severe wound to her left thigh and minor wounds to her calf.

Ms Barwick, a mother of two, would likely have bled to death without the quick- thinking actions of people in nearby boats.

In a second stroke of luck a rescue helicopter scrambled to the region was just 15 minutes away from the scene due to an earlier operation they'd been undertaking.

The hovering chopper drew the attention of John Hadok, an emergency department doctor from Mackay Base Hospital, who was sailing nearby and soon joined the effort to save Ms Barwick's life.

Dr Hadok's direction ensured correct first aid was given to Ms Barwick, allowing her to be safely winched into the helicopter.

RACQ CQ Rescue Helicopter crewman Ben McCauley said the doctor and others who gave first aid to Ms Barwick before she was winched aboard had likely saved her life.

"The original first aid was actually really well done," Mr McCauley told reporters today.

"We actually didn't have to do anything with the leg, it was pretty much tourniqueted up, bandaged up and bleeding had stopped. They'd done a really good job."

Although he didn't see the wound, Mr McCauley was told Ms Bariwck had "quite a big chunk of leg taken" and had suffered arterial bleeding.

She also suffered puncture wounds to her calf muscle.

The helicopter then stopped at Proserpine to refuel, allowing blood from a local hospital to be transfused and other medical treatment given.

Just after 8pm Ms Barwick arrived at Mackay Base Hospital where she remains in a critical condition on Thursday morning after overnight surgery.

Her husband Craig is at her bedside.

Ms Barwick works for non-profit Family Based Care in Burnie and had travelled to the Whitsundays on a holiday with her husband and friends.

Family Based Care chief executive Doug Doherty said Ms Barwick and Craig were regular visitors to the popular tourist destination in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.

"It didn't surprise me, because she is such a fighter, when she was being taken off the rescue helicopter and taken into hospital she was telling them what she was allergic too and still able to give directions," Mr Doherty told AAP.

"That sounds like Justine to me."

Sharks (file picture). Source: istock.com


'Government coming apart at the seams' says Simon Bridges as second minister gone

National Party Leader Simon bridges says today's dumping of Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri shows more weak leadership by the Prime Minister, leading to a weak Government which is "coming apart at the seams".

Less than a year in Government, two ministers are now gone after Jacinda Ardern today axed Ms Whaitiri following a Ministerial Services report on an incident last month in which she was alleged to have assaulted a staff member during an event in Gisborne.

It comes after the MP was accused of assaulting a staff member in Gisborne. Source: 1 NEWS

Clare Curran quit her remaining ministerial roles about two weeks ago after being rattled in Parliament over questions about her use of personal email for Government business, and having already been stripped of two portfolios over undeclared meetings.

Mr Bridges says today's sacking of Ms Whaitiri is more weak leadership leading to a weak government. 

"I mean we've not had a ongoing series of chaos and sagas, whether it's been Curran, now Whaitiri, and of course managing or not managing as the case may be Winston Peters," the National Party leader said. 

"The Prime Minister has to take responsibility for that weak leadership. If we look at Meka Whaitiri, what's happened here is very clear. Nothing has changed. She's known the facts about an alleged incident now for week, but just like with Curran she has dithered and mucked around and she should have dealt with this much more early," he said.

Ms Whaitiri will stay on as the MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti and Mr Bridges says that's a question for the Prime Minister.

"I think the reality is she still has leadership roles here. She's still chairing a caucus committee, and that's not good enough," he said.

"Still there's basic questions that I'm sure the Prime Minister knows but she won't answer, like whether there's been other incidents, what has happened here. She should have got to the bottom of this and dealt with this a long time ago."

Mr Bridges said Ms Ardern has not been strong enough on the matter.

"This has been weak leadership and weak government. It's why we're seeing the Government coming apart at the seams, you know around two ministers in a couple of weeks, around a coalition where they can't get agreement on basic things, this is yet more evidence of something that could have been dealt with decisively and strongly but has been weak," Mr Bridges said.

The National Party leader says the axing of Meka Whaitiri is more slow, weak leadership leading to weak government. Source: 1 NEWS