The anti-gay ex-PM’s constituency was one of the highest Yes votes in Australia

Tony Abbott

One of the strongest opponents of same-sex marriage in Australia, ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott, has seen his constituency vote overwhelmingly for same-sex marriage.

Almost 13 million Australians voted in the country’s non-binding postal ballot – a bigger turnout than in even the UK’s EU referendum.

Yes responses represented 61.6 percent of responses with 38.4 percent voting No.

(Getty Images)

And despite being one of the most outspoken opponents of same-sex marriage, Mr Abbott’s seat of Warringah, voted 75 percent for Yes, in the same-sex marriage plebiscite.

That made his seat the 10th highest Yes vote in the whole of Australia. Whoops.

Speaking ahead of the vote, Mr Abbott also said that 40 percent of the vote for No would represent a “moral victory” for Australia. Which is a shame because 38 percent of Australians voted No.

Following the vote, Mr Abbott said that “the people have spoken and the parliament should respect that result”.

He addeD: “I also thank the 4.7 million Australians who supported marriage between a man and a woman. Both the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader have pledged their support for freedom of religion.

I look forward to a parliamentary process that improves on the Dean Smith bill to implement same sex marriage with freedom of conscience for all, not just the churches. So far, this process has been a credit to us as a nation and now needs to be completed in a way that keeps us the best country in the world.”

Mr Abbott previously attacked former PM Bob Hawke over his support for same-sex marriage, calling him a “silly old bugger”.

He also revealed he likes a band with a gay lead singer, Savage Garden, but the feeling was not mutual.

And just for fun, remember that time he ate a raw onion on television.. for no apparent reason?

Here you go:

RELATED: A gay couple got engaged live on TV just after Australia said Yes to same-sex marriage

Fellow No campaigner Lyle Shelton, who has made a number of inflammatory remarks whilst campaigning, claimed it was a victory that the no camp “Shifted one million votes”.

Shelton was applauded as he thanked No campaigners, after a campaign during which he said homophobia doesn’t exist “much” in Australia, and accused peaceful protesters of “bullying”.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Bill Shorten appeared at a celebratory rally for same-sex marriage, and personally celebrated the Yes vote.

He spoke shortly after it was announced that the Yes vote represented 61.6 percent of responses in a non-legally-binding plebiscite.

The Labor leader said: “Yes, yes, yes! What a fabulous day to be an Australian.”

“Today we celebrate, tomorrow we legislate. What this shows is unconditional love always has the last word.

“It may have been 61% who voted yes but you are 100% loved and valued and as of the next few weeks in parliament 100% able to marry the people you love.”

Mr Shorten’s words came after the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australians “voted yes for fairness, they voted yes for commitment, they voted yes for love”.

He added “now it is up to us – here in the Parliament of Australia… that must be our commitment.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hugs his wife Lucy following his address at the Coalition Campaign launch in Sydney on June 26, 2016.
(Getty Images)

Mr Turnbull spoke alongside Mathias Cormann, the Minister for Finance, who hoped that Senators from all political backgrounds would find “common ground”.

Mr Cormann also brought up “religious protections”, saying that he hoped a bill to legalise same-sex marriage would be “balanced”.

The Prime MInister said he “won’t accept” politicians who would seek to delay the bill, but that he would hear out amendments added to the bill.

“We are the nation of the fair go, that’s why we’re the most successful mutlicultural society in the world… so we should cherish that.”

It is understood that Mr Kalisch informed a number of representatives ahead of the announcement, including Government ministers and leaders from the Yes and No campaigns.

Celebrations took place from early Wednesday morning as Yes campaign headquarters across Australia opened their doors ahead of the result.

The No campaign conceded defeat, having previously said it would settle for a result over 40 percent, with Tony Abbott, former Prime Minister, claiming that would be a “moral” victory.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is a personal supporter of the equality law, pledged that his government would support the move in the case of a Yes vote.

Turnbull has previously said same-sex couples could be married by the end of the this year if voters back Yes.

However the decision ultimately has to be approved by parliament.

The public vote is not legally binding, so both houses still need to pass legislation for it to become legal.

Monday is the first day that a same-sex marriage bill can be tabled in the House of Representatives, which is not sitting this week.

A bill must pass in both houses before it can be signed into law by the Governor-General.

Hardline anti-LGBT MPs within the governing Liberal-National Coalition say they will not be conceding – even if the public gives a strong backing for equality.

Two bills will be proposed to parliament – one by a coalition of same-sex marriage supporters proposing simply to introduce the other measure, and another by a right-wing Senator proposing same-sex marriage, but with various “religious freedoms”.

Liberal James Paterson is to introduce the caveated bill that would override any anti-discrimination laws passed by state and territory level legislatures.

Protests in Australia

Protests in Australia (SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

It will permit anyone who holds a religious or “conscientious belief” in traditional marriage to refuse same-sex weddings, allowing discrimination by private service providers.

The proposal comes after a bombshell poll found half of Australians support service providers being allowed to refuse same-sex weddings on the basis of private religious views.

Hardliners may also table a string of amendments if their desired bill doesn’t go through, in a bid to seriously change or slow the introduction.

However, it seems unlikely same-sex marriage will not be introduced in some form, with the opposition Labor Party supporting the measure, and a majority of parliamentarians in favour.

When will the first same-sex marriages take place?

Same-sex marriage should become legal now the public vote has endorsed the move.

The vote will be followed by legislation, though there could be a bit of a wait for those who wish to marry.

The standard waiting time for legislation to take effect is 30 days.

However, this could be longer if the Government decides that celebrants and other officials need more time to get acquainted with the new law.