Four million Australians yet to vote in same-sex marriage ballot
Millions of eligible Australians have not yet voted in the country’s ballot on same-sex marriage, despite a 75% turnout.
The country is currently holding an advisory public vote on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
The informal postal ballot is entirely advisory and non-binding, but will inform MPs in the country when the issue goes to Parliament.
Today the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which is responsible for running the vote, confirmed the amount of votes cast so far.
The figure marks a sharp jump from last week, with some 300,000 more ballots received.
Only four days remain until the recommended deadline for forms to be returned – meaning roughly four million Australians have not yet responded to the survey.
“Today’s result shows that Australians clearly want this issue to be dealt with as quickly as possible,” The Equality Campaign director Tiernan Brady told Star Observer.
“We hope that a strong YES result will encourage Parliament to ensure marriage equality is a reality in Australia by Christmas.
“To be sure that their votes will be counted by the ABS, Australians should make sure they have posted their YES votes by this Friday 27 October.”
The yes campaign looks set to win in Australia’s controversial same-sex marriage plebiscite.
The pro-equality campaign is in the lead lead among people who have already voted in the marriage law postal survey, leading 59% to 38%, according to the latest Newspoll.
However the gap between the two campaigns has narrowed in recent weeks, with previous polls putting yes on as much as 64%.
All public polls conducted since ballots were first issued have shown the yes campaign in the lead, with LGBT activists expected to be victorious when the ballots are counted.
However a victory in the national postal ballot might not mean any laws are changed in Australia, as the ballot is non-binding.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull supports same-sex marriage personally, but many in his right-wing government are opposed to the move.
Last week a cross-party bill was backed by the opposition Labour party to legislate for marriage equality as soon as possible if the yes vote wins.
Speaking to Sky News, Tiernan Brady of the Equality Campaign said he believed we’ve “confidently won the argument”.
Despite intensive campaigning from the ‘No’ camp, he said: “I think the Australian people have seen through it… I think the public have made their mind up.”
There has been a spate of hate crimes in the country during the vote.
Last month a cafe was threatened with arson for supporting the Yes campaign while a 14 year old girl received a death threat for supporting marriage equality on social media.
PinkNews revealed last month that the anti-LGBT Coalition for Marriage is telling activists to play to fears over gay sex and gender issues.
The group bills itself as a “grassroots movement” that will be on “the front line to defend traditional marriage in Australia”.
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At an induction session for Coalition for Marriage activists attended by a PinkNews reporter, the group’s campaign leadership told activists to play up fears over “radical gay sex education” and transgender issues.
Three Australian Prime Ministers have been at loggerheads over equal marriage, as anti-gay former PM Tony Abbott viciously mocked former PM Bob Hawke after Hawke criticised the vote called by current Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.
Tony Abbott has become the most prominent voice of the anti-gay lobby as Australia votes on equal marriage – alienating much of his own family in the process.
After Abbott suggested it would be “best” for his gay sister’s children to be raised by a straight couple, his own daughter Frances spoke out for equality, appearing in a TV ad on the opposing side of the debate to her dad.
The ex-leader has taken his opposition to LGBT rights to surreal extremes, lashing out at “transgender marriage” and demanding censorship of a Macklemore performance over gay anthem ‘Same Love’.
The Equality Campaign last month released a video and image of former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, 87, backing the YES campaign for marriage equality.