National News

Australia says 'yes' to same-sex marriage

Rainbow flags and champagne corks have flown into the air at celebrations across Australia following a resounding 'yes' vote in the same-sex marriage postal survey.

There were cheers and some tears of joy at Sydney's Prince Alfred Park - where the biggest 'yes' event was held - as the country learned that 61.6 per cent of participants voted for same-sex marriage.

Couples kissed and friends embraced on Wednesday morning - some in relief and others in jubilation.

Equality Campaign organiser Alex Greenwich said Australians had stood up for the values of fairness and equality.

"We will reflect on this day as a day that has truly made our country proud," he said.

The survey result was an "unequivocal mandate" for federal politicians to legalise same-sex marriage, Mr Greenwich said.

Singer John Paul Young performed his hit Love Is In The Air, joined on stage by prominent figures of the Yes campaign including comedian and actor Magda Szubanski.

The vote proved Australians could be relied upon to "do the bloody right thing", she said.

"We must find ways to reach our hand across the divide that's been created by this unfortunate survey and go forward with a deep and good faith understanding of one another as a nation."

Dr Kerryn Phelps, who featured in 'yes' campaign advertisements, said the fight wasn't over until LGBTIQ people were protected from "further and new" discrimination.

"This is not just a victory for the community of LGBTIQ people," she said.

"This is a victory for what is right and proper for all Australians."

After the speeches, there was a party atmosphere in the Sydney park, with the crowd dancing to gay anthems Born This Way and We Are Family.

The celebration continued on Wednesday evening at Sydney's iconic gay strip Oxford Street, which hosts the annual Mardi Gras parade.

But with the celebrations came a warning to Australia's politicians.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, who personally donated $1 million to the 'yes' campaign, had a blunt message for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

"Get on and do it, Mr Turnbull, it's now up to you," he said when urging parliament to quickly pass legislation legalising gay marriage.

Olympic swimming champion Ian Thorpe also expects swift action.

"We didn't need a survey to know the will of the Australian people, but we dealt with it," he said.

"What we need to do is make sure our politicians deal with it as well."

Christine Forster, the sister of prominent same-sex marriage opponent and former PM Tony Abbott, revealed she hopes to marry her long-term partner Virginia Edwards in February.

The Sydney councillor said the thought of getting married in Sydney was "incredible".

But she's more excited about what Wednesday's result means for future generations.

"Assuming this legislation gets passed quickly, as it should, kids can know they have the same opportunities, the same future, the same rights, the same equality under the law that everybody else does," Ms Forster told AAP.

"As a nation, that changes who we are."

© AAP 2017

You may also like...

Just one Australian beach in world top 25

Just one Australian beach in world top 25

Australia may be famed for its stunning coastline and surf culture, but when it comes to the world's top 25 beaches only one of ours has made the...

'Mischievous' ARIA flasher put on bond

'Mischievous' ARIA flasher put on bond

A Sydney magistrate has labelled Kirin J Callinan's decision to flash photographers on the ARIA red carpet "mischevious" when handing him a 12-month...

Principals threatened, attacked on the job

Principals threatened, attacked on the job

School principals are being bullied, threatened and assaulted on the job, often by overzealous parents, a new survey shows.More than 40 per cent of...

More fruit flies and larvae found in Tas

More fruit flies and larvae found in Tas

A fruit fly exclusion zone in Tasmania's north has been extended, with the state's biosecurity department believing an active population of the...