The Australian Bureau of Statistics has estimated that 78.5 per cent of Australians have returned their same-sex marriage postal survey forms. just hours before the final deadline.
Just hours before they stopped accepting forms, the ABS said that 12.6 million Australians had returned their forms by last Friday, or almost four out of five voters.
The Equality Campaign’s Anna Brown said on Tuesday the high turnout – larger than the UK’s Brexit vote and Ireland’s marriage equality referendum – highlights how important the issue is to Australians.
“Nearly four out of five people is a phenomenal turnout, and the final tally is still to come. It is not inconceivable that we could exceed 80% by the time the survey finally closes,” she said.
“We are grateful to the millions who have voted and the tens of thousands of volunteers who have campaigned long and hard for all Australians to be given a fair go.
“This extraordinary turnout shows that Australians have taken the campaign seriously, and they are determined to show their politicians what it means to act in a decisive way.”
The final result of the survey will be revealed at an Australian Bureau of Statistics press conference at 10am next Wednesday, November 15.
Alex Greenwich said he expects the weeklong wait for the final result to be revealed will be difficult for the LGBTI community.
“This next week is going to be a long and uncomfortable one for many LGBTI people and their allies who have worked so hard to achieve a YES result,” he said.
“It’s time to look after each other and ensure anyone who is doing it tough gets the extra support they need.
“Help is available and we urge people to reach out for assistance and not try to battle through this on their own.”
A large number of ‘yes’ parties and events are being held around the country to bring people together when the result is announced.
Greenwich said marriage equality advocates would now turn their attention to the next stage of the campaign: the introduction of the same-sex marriage legislation to the federal parliament.
“After being put through this process, Australians won’t stomach politicians playing with the lives of their gay and lesbian friends and family members any longer,” he said.
“We’ve had the survey, we’ve got the bill, and let’s hope the will of the Australia people is reflected in the result.”
If you need someone to talk to, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au, Lifeline on 13 11 14, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.