Same-sex marriage in Australia: Only 1 electorate is against marriage equality

By @chelean on
Gay rights activists hold a rainbow flag during a rally to support same-sex marriage in central Sydney.
Gay rights activists hold a rainbow flag during a rally to support same-sex marriage in central Sydney August 11, 2012. Reuters/Daniel Munoz

If same-sex marriage plebiscite in Australia was held today, there’s a good chance marriage equality would prevail. According to a new study, there is only one electorate in the country that has majority of voters opposing gay marriage.

A study led by the University of Melbourne (via Fairfax Media) says that one region in Australia has overwhelmingly percentage of “No” voters. Maranoa, located in the south-western Queensland and held by Liberal MP David Littleproud, is the only electorate with over 50 percent of voters who are against same-sex marriage.

According to the study, which is based on the responses to the ABC’s Vote Compass survey in 2013, only a third of voters were opposed to change. There is also a significant divide in opinion between rural and urban areas. As the study found out, rural and regional electorates have below average support for change, while inner city seats of every capital city have above average support.

Although a clear majority of voters support change, the same cannot be said for House of Representative MPs. The study says MPs would only narrowly back same-sex marriage if they are given free vote. Monash University political scientist Shaun Ratcliff, who is also one of the researchers, said this may be due to the influence of interest groups.

“Politicians represent a number of different interests including their constituents, and also generally have a status quo bias, which is not necessarily a bad thing as they are expected to be cautious,” he told Fairfax Media.

“But at the same time, there has been a majority in favour of same-sex marriage for quite a long time now. I don’t think anything’s inevitable but suspect on this particular issue we’re going to see same-sex marriage legalised. It’s just a matter of when.”

While Maranoa is the only electorate that has majority of voters opposing change, a few seats could end up opposing as well if undecided voters followed majority. These seats include Groom, Flynn, Hunkler in QLD, and New England, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s seat.

Here are the list of electorates most opposed to marriage equality:

  • Maranoa, QLD (LNP, David Littleproud) *only seat where majority opposed
  • Groom, QLD (LNP, John McVeigh)
  • Flynn, QLD (LNP, Ken O’Dowd)
  • Hinkler, QLD (LNP, Keith Pitt)
  • New England, NSW (Nationals, Barnaby Joyce)
  • Kennedy, QLD (Katter’s Australian Party, Bob Katter)
  • Grey, SA (Liberal, Rowan Ramsey)
  • Barker, SA (Liberal, Tony Pasin)
  • Parkes, NSW (Nationals, Mark Coulton)
  • Braddon, TAS (Labor, Justine Keay)

Here are the top 10 electorates that are most supportive of same-sex marriage:

  • Sydney, NSW (Labor, Tanya Plibersek)
  • Melbourne, VIC (Greens, Adam Bandt)
  • Grayndler, NSW (Labor, Anthony Albanese)
  • Wentworth, NSW (Liberal, Malcolm Turnbull)
  • Melbourne Ports, VIC (Labor, Michael Danby)
  • Wills, VIC (Labor, Peter Khalil)
  • Gellibrand, VIC (Labor, Tim Watts)
  • Batman, VIC (Labor, David Feeney)
  • Higgins, VIC (Liberal, Kelly O’Dwyer)
  • Brisbane, QLD (Liberal, Trevor Evans)

Read more:
Malcolm Turnbull on 1st anniversary as Australian PM: Same-sex marriage plebiscite introduced
Victoria Premier Andrews urges Turnbull to abandon same-sex marriage plebiscite
Greens to oppose same-sex marriage plebiscite; Liberals warn blocking marriage equality vote will delay issue for years