Ballarat gives a resounding yes to marriage equality

YES: Jen McInerney, Janine Fleming, and the crowd at Ballarat Trades Hall react to the news of the marriage equality postal survey results. Picture: Lachlan Bence.
YES: Jen McInerney, Janine Fleming, and the crowd at Ballarat Trades Hall react to the news of the marriage equality postal survey results. Picture: Lachlan Bence.

Ballarat recorded the second highest ‘yes’ vote of all non-metro Victorian electorates with 70.5 per cent of survey responders in the Ballarat electorate voting to change to the Marriage Act. 

Ballarat’s result was only topped by the Corangamite electorate where 71.6 per cent of constituents who voted in the survey chose to vote yes. 

Overall, Ballarat had the tenth highest percentage of yes votes of all federal electorates in Victoria. 

The city electorates of Melbourne and Melbourne ports had the highest recorded yes votes in the state with 83.7 and 82 per cent respectively. 

Ballarat’s return rate was also in line with the state average with only 18.3 percent of 114,274 constituents in the electorate not returning their postal vote. 

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Members of the Ballarat LGBTIQ community along with families and loved ones packed out the Ballarat Trades Hall today to watch a live stream of the survey announcement. 

Tension was high before the results were revealed and tears flowed freely when it was announced 61.6 per cent of the returned vote was in favour of allowing same-sex marriage couples to marry. 

President of the Ballarat Pride Hub Inc. Kirsten Holden said finally hearing the result of the survey was a great relief and said she is really pleased with Ballarat’s response. 

“It has been a whole lot of work and months of really pushing hard that all came to a culmination this morning and there is a whole lot of relief and a whole lot of pride in my community.

“For the LGBTIQ people of Ballarat it’s a big thing for us to know we have the support of the majority of the community.

“We know we can go out on the Ballarat streets and a majority of the community are behind us.”

Dave Harrison and Darren Dubberley.

Dave Harrison and Darren Dubberley.

Ms Holden said Ballarat’s high yes response is a great reflection of the people in the region. 

“I couldn't be more proud of Ballarat pushing back against conservatism and standing up for the rights of all people,” she said. 

“It’s wonderful to know our community knows that the rights of all are important regardless of religious beliefs and it’s a privilege to be part of the a community that recognises that.” 

MP for Ballarat Catherine King also welcomed the resounding yes response from the people she represents.

“This is a great outcome for the LGBTQI community in our region and I congratulate them for the outstanding campaign they conducted locally,” she said. 

“Parliament must proceed swiftly to pass marriage equality legislation.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has pledged to have a bill to allow same-sex couple to marry passed by the parliament before politicians break for holidays at the end of the year. 

Here is a breakdown of how Ballarat voted in the survey: