Malcolm Turnbull wants federal parliament to approve same-sex marriage laws before Christmas after Australians delivered their "unequivocal" approval in a voluntary survey.
"It is our job now to get on with it, and get this done," the prime minister told reporters in Canberra today, 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' vote above 60 per cent, bar NSW where 57.8 of people voted 'yes'.
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'.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described the result as a "fabulous day to be an Australian".
"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."
Parliamentary debate to legalise same-sex marriage could begin as early as tomorrow.
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 tomorrow, the Senate's usual time for considering private bills.
Mr Turnbull and other senior government ministers are backing the Smith bill as a good "starting point" for debate.
It had the advantage of having been around for some months now, the prime minister said unlike an alternative bill proposed by conservative Liberal James Patterson.
"People know what is in it and they know what its virtues are," Mr Turnbull said.
"If they have problems in it they can move amendments to correct the defects."