Australian voters have voted yes for marriage equality after more than 12 million people took part in a national postal poll on the issue.
Australian Bureau of Statistics statistician* David Kalisch revealed the survey delivered a Yes result, with 61.6 per cent of the votes counted in favour of marriage equality.
The final participation rate accounted for* 79.5 per cent of eligible voters.
Mr Kalisch announced every state and territory recorded a majority Yes vote.
The voluntary survey on marriage equality asked Australians if the law should change to let people marry, regardless* of their gender.
Rainbow flags flew across the country in support of marriage equality for months in the lead up to yesterday’s announcement. There were also people campaigning in support of No votes.
Currently the law in Australia states only a man and a woman can be married, not a woman and a woman or a man and a man.
Despite a majority of Australian’s voting for a change, the Federal Government is not legally required to change the law.
But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia voted Yes and it was his job “to deliver” a change to the law quickly.
“This year, before Christmas — that must be our commitment,” Mr Turnbull said.
“They have spoken in their millions and they have voted overwhelmingly yes for marriage equality. They voted yes for fairness, yes for commitment, yes for love,” he said.
“And now it is up to us here in the parliament of Australia to get on with it, to get on with the job the Australian people have tasked us to do and get this done.”
The Government will allow a private members’ bill* to go before federal parliament on whether same-sex* marriage should be legal.
Then elected MPs* will get a free vote on the Bill. This means they can vote however they like and do not need to follow what their political party or electorate of everyday voters believes.
It will need to pass the Lower House and the Upper House of Parliament before becoming law.
Australia has been relatively slow to vote on same sex marriage, years behind New Zealand, England and Canada.
More than 25 nations have allowed marriage equality since The Netherlands became the first to do so in 2000.
statistician: statistics expert
accounted for: made up of
regardless: no matter
bill: proposed law
same-sex: about people of the same sex
MPs: members of parliament
LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY
Read the story carefully and make sure you understand the issues by answering the following questions.
• What is marriage equality?
• How many people voted in the postal survey on marriage equality?
• What percentage of people voted Yes?
• What percentage of people voted No?
Many countries like England, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Ireland and Canada already have marriage equality.
Find out how these countries made the decision to change their marriage laws.
Create a poster or chart comparing the different ways that the decision was made in each country.
Then choose the way that you think was the best one.
Write a paragraph explaining why you think that was the best way to decide.
Time: allow 80 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum: links: English, Civics and Citizenship
Think about what is going to happen next.
Will the laws change in Australia?
Do elected MPs have to follow what the everyday voters want?
Do you agree with this?
Why or why not?
Find out more about the process of making laws in federal Parliament.
Use what you have learned to create a flow chart or diagram that will help other students to understand all the steps that must be taken for a law, like marriage, to be made or changed in Australia.
Time: allow 65 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum: links: Civics and Citizenship
(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation)
Create a tally of the VCOP in this article.
Draw four columns with the headings Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation.
Highlight the VCOP in the article and then tally how much of each has been used.
Create a graph displaying the data you have discovered.
Which VCOP element appears the most throughout the article?
Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Big Write, Maths, VCOP
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