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Every Government And Opposition Leader In Australia Is Voting Yes On Same-Sex Marriage...Except One

Seventeen out of Australia's 18 federal, state and territory leaders are voting "yes".

Of Australia's 18 federal, state, and territory government and opposition leaders, just one is voting "no" in the same-sex marriage survey: ACT opposition leader Alistair Coe.

ACT Legislative Assembly On Demand

All Australians eligible to vote are currently being asked to respond to the question "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?" in a national survey.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and Labor leader Bill Shorten are on a unity ticket when it comes to same-sex marriage itself, despite disagreeing on the postal survey.

And across Australia, state and territory premiers, chief ministers and opposition leaders have all said they will vote "yes" in the survey — except for Coe, who is voting "no".

Coe, who is in his early thirties, became the leader of the ACT Liberals last October, following the party's loss in the 2016 election. He is from the conservative wing of the party and was backed for the leadership by federal ACT senator Zed Seselja.

Coe was unavailable for an interview with BuzzFeed News, but provided a statement: "I, along with many other Canberrans and Australians, will be voting no."

"Of course, a robust democracy is built on the back of many voices engaging in debate and all Australians, regardless of their views, culture, ethnicity, faith or sexuality should enjoy the democratic freedom to exercise their conviction in this survey.

ACT chief minister Andrew Barr told BuzzFeed News the political support for marriage equality reflected "the broader mood" of the Australian people.

"Generally speaking it's difficult to end up the leader of a major political party without having some pretty close connections both to your party's own value system, and the broader values of the community you've been elected to represent, or aspire to represent," he said.

"I think it certainly does reflect the overwhelming intellectual argument for the 'yes' case that many political leaders from across the country and across the political divide have reached that conclusion."

Barr said he thought ACT residents might not expect it to be the only Australian jurisdiction with a political divide between leaders on the issue.

"I imagine a lot of ACT residents would be surprised that the Liberal leader in this jurisdiction, which is seen as the most progressive in the country, would hold such a conservative view, but that is largely consistent with the ACT branch of the Liberal party."

Lisa Maree Williams / Getty Images

Barr said that as a young gay man he would have never expected such broad political support for same-sex marriage.

"I've reflected during this process on the journey and experience in my life from being a scared teenager to holding the highest office in the ACT," he said.

"The world is a lot better. I want to acknowledge that has happened significantly. But this last few weeks has also been an eye opener, on the level of not-that-suppressed contempt right through to outright hatred that still exists.

"That's why I think there's so much riding on getting a yes result. The flow-on impacts, it is significant — not just because of the marriage issue, but what else it will say."

As for Australia's leaders and opposition leaders outside of the ACT...they are lined up behind the "yes" vote.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull

Lucy and I are voting YES because it's fair. Make sure you have your say too by returning your survey form.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten

The march for marriage equality today was huge. Ballots arrive from this week. Let's remind friends & family to che… https://t.co/szV8DCfjXB

New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian

Pool / Getty Images

Berejiklian told a fundraiser for Australian Marriage Equality earlier this month that she would be voting "yes".

She described same-sex marriage as a "no brainer" and an important human rights decision for Australia.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews

The Golden Girls got it in the '80s. Hopefully Australia agrees in 2017. #VoteYes.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Great to be part of #BrisbanePride - remember to #VoteYes #PostYourYes @AMEquality

Western Australian premier Mark McGowan

#ItsTime. @WALabor and @AustralianLabor MPs say YES to marriage equality. #VoteEarly #VoteYES

South Australian premier Jay Weatherill

Let's get this done. #loveislove #voteyes #postyouryes

Tasmanian premier Will Hodgman


Northern Territory chief minister Michael Gunner

Facebook: FannieBay

NSW opposition leader Luke Foley

Jeremy Piper / AAPIMAGE

Foley's media advisor told BuzzFeed News he will be voting "yes".

Victorian opposition leader Matthew Guy

Joe Castro / AAPIMAGE

Guy said at a press conference in August that he would vote "yes" in the survey when it arrives.

"I just hope that is the vote that prevails, but I do hope also for a sensible and mature debate from all sides and the kind of debate that does not oppress each other from having a mature and sensible debate in this country," he said.

Queensland opposition leader Tim Nicholls

Dan Peled / AAPIMAGE

Nicholls said at a press conference on Sunday that he had voted "yes" after discussions with his wife and teenager daughters, but found the decision difficult.

"This has been really hard for me," he said. "I come from a traditional marriage, a traditional background."

WA opposition leader Mike Nahan


Nahan's media advisor told BuzzFeed News he will be voting "yes".

"It is not the biggest issue but I think it is necessary to say that we as leaders of the community need to accept the diversity in life, the freedom of people to choose their associations and also the need to achieve the public acknowledgement of a relationship," Nahan told the WA parliament in 2015.

"I have therefore come to support same-sex marriage."

SA opposition leader Steven Marshall

David Mariuz / AAPIMAGE

Marshall's media advisor told BuzzFeed News he will be voting "yes".

Tasmanian opposition leader Rebecca White


NT opposition leader Gary Higgins

Facebook: Country Liberal Party / Via Facebook: countryliberals

Higgins told Mix 104.9 Darwin in August that he has a "very firm view" in support of same-sex marriage.

“Having a gay son, it should be obvious to people which way I’d actually go,” he said.

Lane Sainty is the editor of BuzzFeed News in Australia and is based in Sydney.

Contact Lane Sainty at lane.sainty@buzzfeed.com.

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