"I note that I was the one saying it was going to be the highest vote", he said.
There won't be a coalition position to decide which of two private bills is the starting point for legalising same-sex marriage, a senior Turnbull government insists.
"That's the goal", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull vowed ahead of the Australian Bureau of Statistics announcing on Tuesday which way more than 12 million people voted on the issue. If passed, this law would, for example, allow a baker to refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple, or students to "opt out of classes that conflict with their values", said Paterson. "The Smith bill is a balanced bill".
And while the government faces some difficulties after losing its majority in the lower house following the resignations of Barnaby Joyce and John Alexander in the dual citizenship fiasco, the issue has cross-party support and already plans are in place Liberal senator Dean Smith to introduce a private member's bill in favour of same-sex marriage to the Senate this afternoon.
"That's why it is necessary to extend the same principle applied in other same-sex marriage bills beyond ministers of religion to anyone else directly connected to a wedding".
SYDNEY == The head of Australia's marriage equality push has slammed calls for anti-discrimination exemptions to be legalised under the guise of "religious freedoms" in the event of a yes vote in the postal survey, claiming such moves would be against the spirit of the support for the reform.
Paterson's bill would allow a wide range of service providers, religious or secular, to turn away gay couples asking for wedding services.
Labor leader Bill Shorten said Australians expected the parliament to deal with marriage equality legislation before the end of the year.
This gives the Smith bill an immediate advantage over its legislative rival, a bill penned by Liberal senator James Paterson.
"There's been a long road and there's still further fights down the track", Senator Wong told reporters in Canberra.
Barring any unforeseen mishap, the survey results will be published on by the ABS on 15 November 2017. "We don't want this to be a country with signs like the old "no Irish need apply", he said.