SIGNS OF CONSENSUS ON MARRIAGE BILL

There are signs that a consensus on same-sex marriage legislation could emerge despite ongoing divisions in the Coalition over how to formalise yesterday’s historic Yes victory.

With an emphatic 61.6% of respondents around the country backing marriage equality, the pressure is on conservatives to tack amendments on to Senator Dean Smith’s bill, which has emerged as the starting point for debate. Yesterday, Senator James Paterson abandoned his rival conservative bill, which would have overridden state anti-discrimination laws.

According to The Australian, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull supports a proposal to allow civil celebrants to opt-out of same-sex weddings. The paper also reports Treasurer Scott Morrison has emerged as a key player pushing for stronger exemptions, including the ability of parents to withdraw children from classes that don’t align with their religious beliefs. Attorney-General George Brandis is pushing for explicit speech protections.

Much was made yesterday of the cluster of western Sydney seats that voted “no”. Fairfax analysis today notes that Liberal-held seats returned a stronger result for the Yes campaign than Labor held. The results come with complications for both parties, writes William Bowe.

SOCCEROOS QUALIFY FOR CUP

The Australian men’s football team has secured qualification for the 2018 football World Cup finals in Russia.

Australia did things the hard way, missing automatic qualification in the group stages, and was forced to take on Syria then Honduras in two double fixtures.

Last night the Socceroos needed a victory over the Central American nation in Sydney to progress.

At half time, it seemed only too likely the Australians would be bundled out but three second-half goals and an inspired captain’s performance from the ever stern-faced Mile Jedinak got the job done. In the end, the 3-1 result probably flattered the visiting team.

It is the fourth consecutive time Australia has qualified for the World Cup finals.

ZIMBABWE COUP

Robert Mugabe’s rule over Zimbabwe hangs by a thread after an apparent coup had the nation’s armed forces take to the streets and parliament, forcing the 93-year-old ruler into house arrest.

It appears the army has moved over fears Mugabe is preparing to hand power to his young wife Grace. The country’s opposition party has called for a return to constitutional democracy.

Though no longer gripped by hyper-inflation, Zimbabwe’s economy has gone backwards recently with shortages of goods and cash.

The army has said it is not targeting Mugabe but the “criminals” around him who it says are causing “social and economic suffering”.

READ ALL ABOUT IT 

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Australian diplomat falls to his death from Manhattan balcony

THEY REALLY SAID THAT

“I go to the gym [here].”

That was how former NSW premier and current candidate for Bennelong Kristina Keneally defended herself after attacking rival Liberal candidate John Alexander for living outside of the electorate. The only problem for Keneally: so does she, admittedly only by a few hundred metres. Home, as they say, is where the heart-rate is.

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Los Angeles: News Corp holds its AGM.

Sydney: A private member’s assisted-dying bill will be voted on in the state’s upper house.

Adelaide: Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher speaks at a driverless-car summit.

Brisbane: Sky News and the Courier-Mail host an election forum with members of the public and the leaders of Queensland Labor, the Liberal-National Party, and One Nation.

THE COMMENTARIAT 

Same-sex marriage: outcome deepens cracks in Coalition — David Crowe (The Australian $): “Those who worry that political leaders are out of touch with the community should also be concerned that political party members (not just on the conservative side) are also out of touch. Shrinking parties struggle to reflect the citizens around them. The steady fall in Liberal Party membership over the years raises real questions about whether the branches are keeping up with their communities.”

I’ve fallen in love with my country all over again — David Marr (Guardian Australia): “Those figures are better than they seem. They have to be read against an old truth: Australians are easy to scare. The fear of where changes might lead is so strong here that it defeats nearly every attempt to fix our rackety constitution. It sets its problems in stone.”

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

LGBTI Australia led the way with resilience and pride — Amy Coopes: “We have engaged in good faith, with dignity, respect and integrity in a process that, by its very nature, has been humiliating, degrading and demeaning. We have seen the very best of the queer community – strength, resilience, humour and solidarity – come to the fore. Perversely, perhaps, we have become more gay, more proud, more unified.”

Poll Bludger: the surprising patterns in marriage equality voting behaviour — William Bowe: “For the left, the result illustrates the tensions that can develop between progressivism and multiculturalism — a familiar theme in the Netherlands, but one rarely so apparent in Australia. On the other side of the fence, conservatives who have characterised the struggle as one between liberal permissiveness and “Judeo-Christian civilisation” may need to think again.”

Yes vote is an ugly win for Turnbull, but it’s still a win — Bernard Keane: “His greatest enemy has been utterly repudiated — Tony Abbott, who waded into the campaign as a means to undermine Turnbull, set the benchmark of 40% as a “moral victory” for the No vote, and that clearly failed, with a No vote of just 38%.”

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Peter Fray

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