Love won. Now for the war

Same Sex Marriage Postal Vote results. Crowd gather at Prince Alfred Park in Surry Hills and celebrate the majority yes vote of the results of the postal vote. Wednesday 15th November 2017. Photo: James Brickwood. SMH NEWS 171115 sexpol The Age, News. Sexpol. The announcement of the same sex marriage survey at Woodleigh School. students Cas Baptist and Indigo Rule .Pic Simon Schluter 15 November 2017.
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It’s not often that history comes to Belconnen. Even by the standards of Canberra’s suburbs, it is an uneventful place, where sprinklers twitch and dog walkers nod to each other in passing.

It is fitting, then, that history was brought to Belconnen by a statistician, the ABS’s David Kalisch, who this morning told that 61.6 per cent of us had had voted in favour of same-sex marriage.

Of the nation’s 150 electorates, 133 voted yes.

It was a far more resounding result than any political party achieves to govern, and represents a strong mandate.

But this is not a gavel coming down. It’s not a ruling, and it is not yet a definitive win. The result is a moral victory, but until it’s legislated it amounts to a hill of beans.

The “no” campaign, of course, began their rearguard action months ago.

Over recent weeks it has become more frenzied: Liberal senator Eric Abetz saying we mustn’t rush to legislate. Tony Abbott telling an American Christian group that “given the starting point, just to get 40 per cent would be a moral victory for marriage”. The “no” vote was 38.4 per cent – here’s betting Abbott will round up. His own electorate of Warringah voted 75 per cent “yes”. In a Facebook post following the result, Abbott didn’t reference that, but said the forthcoming parliamentary process should protect “freedom of conscience for all, not just the churches”.

n Christian Lobby director Lyle Shelton wrote yesterday that “because of the misleading message of the same-sex marriage lobby”, the issue “may not be resolved” by the postal survey.

Referring to the “yes” lobby, he told his supporters that “the ACL has warned of this for many years but now the brutality of their winner-takes-all approach is laid bare for all to see”. He makes it sound as though the gay hordes are about to sack temples and rape women. They just want to marry for love. The sky remains intact, so far.

Some of today’s glee rests in the fact that the “no” campaign decided the way the game would be played, and wrote the rules to suit themselves, but the “yes” campaign still won.

But it’s impossible to argue the postal survey hasn’t been divisive. It has exposed LGBTI people to suffering they didn’t deserve, suffering from which a decent political system should have protected them. It has been a time of high anxiety and dark nights for many gay friends and the people who love them.

The electorate-by-electorate breakdown of voting patterns also shows a divide along socially conservative but traditionally blue collar electorates, and electorates, like Warringah, that are Liberal heartlands but socially progressive. This split – between middle class progressives and working class social conservatives – is a global fault-line that will ripple through n politics in years to come. It is a potential problem for the Labor party.

Politically, the postal survey was always an odd choice for the Prime Minister.

In going through with the postal survey, he kept his election promise, and the promise he made to his party’s right-wing when he took power from Abbott. Turnbull’s policy will end up delivering marriage equality, for which he has personally advocated for a lot longer than many of his colleagues on both sides of parliament.

But it has served as an enormous distraction for his government, and created near-blanket media coverage which has overwhelmed other messages it wanted to put out. The postal survey provided a platform and a Trojan-horse issue for the hard-line conservatives in his party who loathe his leadership. Those conservatives will continue to issue veiled threats against Turnbull’s leadership right up until the last vote is cast on the floor of parliament, and beyond. But that’s a problem for another day. It is not done yet, but love won in a landslide today. We did the right thing. We can look our children in the eye.

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‘Sydney bursting at seams’: Pitt Street makes world top 10

Generic photo of pedestrians shopping at Pitt Street Mall in Sydney on 30th September 2017. Photograph by Katherine GriffithsThe new retail and residential entrants and revamped stores has helped consolidate Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall, Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall and Brisbane’s Queen Street as some of the most expensive places in the world to rent a store.
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While the top spots are held by the likes of New York’s Fifth Avenue, Paris’ Avenue des Champs-Elysees and Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay, Sydney, Melbourne and now Brisbane are holding their own, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

In the latest Cushman & Wakefield Main Streets Across the World report, Pitt Street has cemented its place at no. 7 globally, while Melbourne’s Bourke Street is no. 17 and Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall is 32nd in the world.

The report is based on rent per capita – per square foot in American dollars and per square metre in euros – and tracks 462 of the top retail streets around the globe.

In Sydney, the average rent per square metre per annum is about $12,000, Melbourne’s is $6600/sqm and Brisbane is $4050/sqm.

Cushman & Wakefield’s national director of research, John Sears, has said there is $62 billion of infrastructure development across Sydney’s CBD due to the upgrades along George Street, Circular Quay and a swath of new apartments surrounding Hyde Park.

Melbourne and Brisbane are also in the midst of CBD redevelopment and all three cities are seeing a rise in demand for an array of retail offerings. This is underpinning rental growth.

“These developments will help drive economic growth by making it faster and easier to move around the CBD, promote Sydney as a destination and create the space to absorb future business growth,” Mr Sears said.

Cushman & Wakefield retail leasing directors Matt Hudson and Ben Tremellen said this rise in population, from new office developments, residential towers, hotel projects and student accommodation, is driving a change in tenancies across the cities.

Where once Pitt Street and Bourke Street malls were dominated by department stores and the international fashion brands, banks, supermarkets, digital and electronic equipment and now cosmetics, are all vying for the prime retail sites.

It is also putting pressure on landlords to up their game and freshen up their stores and merchandise, in order to achieve the sales necessary to pay the high rents.

“Sydney is bursting at the seams,” Mr Hudson said.

“With Pitt Street Mall having the house-full sign, and if a retail site is tired and losing customers, there is a long line of potential new players.”

Mr Tremellen said with the population growth rising in CBD living, banks in particular, are coming back from the suburbs and want prime CBD sites to service the expanded customer base.

“These tenants want bigger footprints and are willing to pay for a spot in the prime, main streets across the country,” Mr Tremellen said.

“This trend will continue and if a retailer has not kept up its relevance to the consumer … they will be caught in the rotation game.” Main streets in Asia

According to the report, food and beverage operators remain a key driver of demand, although health and beauty, fashion, sports and lifestyle brands have been equally prominent across much of the region.

Technology is playing a major role, exemplified by Singapore’s drive towards becoming a smart nation, with retailers increasingly turning it to their advantage to attract customers and drive store sales.

It says activity in the n retail market has been limited by the low levels of availability but with new developments and lease expiries on the horizon, there are an increasing number of opportunities for landlords to secure high-quality tenants.

One of the most recent trends has been for domestic retailers to move to suburban shopping centre locations, which has freed up CBD space for major international operators.

“With a maturing retail sector and a resurgence in inner city living, city centre streets and malls will continue to see strong retailer demand. Extended trading hours will provide an additional boost to the market, with shops in some cities now open from 7am to 7pm and a further liberalisation possible in Melbourne and Sydney,” the report says.

Tears of joy for local marriage celebrant

STOKED: Brittany Turner (centre) officiating a wedding earlier this year. Picture: Barefoot & BeardedHunter marriage celebrant Brittany Turner burst into tears as she watched the results of the same-sex marriage survey on a Facebook live stream in her car.
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“I’m just ecstatic,” she told Fairfax Media. “Your phone call interrupted my hysterical crying.”

The former East Maitland woman said she couldn’t wait to officiate her first same-sex union if the government decidedto vote in line with the results of the survey.

Whilethe result could mean a boost for her profession, Ms Turner was more excited on a personal level.

“The result is very much in line with my own views,” she said.

“As a professional [a new law]would certainlychangethings. Itwould impact on celebrants across the country.

“But it’s about equal rights.

“I’ve got a lot of close friends in long-term same sex relationships.

“There’s no reason I should be able to officiate the wedding of one of my friends and not the other.

“I say to them, I can’t wait for the day we’re standing up there at your wedding. It’s the same way I feel about my heterosexual friends.”

In what has been a heated debate, Ms Turner said she was glad the results of the survey were now finalised.

“A lot of my gay friends live in Sydney, and I just wish I could wrap my arms around them and give them a huge hug,” she said.

“I just hope that the LGBQTI community feels the love they deserve today.

“I can’t imagine what this experience has been like for them.”

Ms Turner was obviously pleased with the result, but had hoped that morepeoplewould have voted yes than 61.6 per cent.

“I thought it would be around 70 per cent, perhaps I was optimistic,” she said. “It ismuch better than 49 per cent.”

But she still believedthe resultshould be more than enough for the government to support the bill.

“I hope 51 per cent would have been enough for them to sort it out,” she said.

“This is a victory to be celebrated, but the fight’s not over yet.

“We’ve now got to focus on the law being passed.”

Maitland council approves $20 million seniors living development at Rutherford

A $20 million seniors living development comprising 80homes, a bowling green and swimming pool hasbeen approved for Rutherford.
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Maitland City Council gave applicant Coastplan Consulting,the green light for the development at a meeting on Tuesday night.

The development will beconstructed in Discovery Way, Heritage Parc.

Council planning officers recommended the development for approval.

Cr Robert Aitchison said it’s great to see the city continuing to provide good accommodation for its retirees.

“However as a community and a council we need to put pressure on developers that access to public transport needs to be at the forefront, not an extra at the end of their submission,” Cr Aitchison said.

“In Sydney, developers are building public transport and using that as an extra to help sell. We are still relying on residents to have their own transport.

“We are seeing more and more developments being constructed to the minimum specification which is even making it hard for garbage trucks, emergency services and busesentering the area,” he said.

He said a good example is Harvest at Chisholm. “This developer should have been lobbying for the Metford Railway Station to have access to the northern side of the railway line. As the crow flys it’s 500 metres from the Harvest sales office or 5.3 kilometres via road to Metford Railway Station,” Cr Aitchison said.

The Heritage Parc development application included 80self contained dwellings for seniors housing including a central community centre, swimming pool, bowling green, caravan parking and internal roads.

The proposal sits within the Heritage Parc estate,an approved community title subdivision comprising 450 residential lots surrounded by extensive parklands including a network of walking tracks and cycleways, playgrounds.

It is proposed to amend the approved subdivision plan by separate application to create a super lot to accommodate this seniors housing development.

The Hunter region has returned some of the state’s highest same sex marriage ‘Yes’ figures

Cheers: Same-sex marriage supporters cheer after the postal survey results with a resounding “Yes” vote are called. THE Hunter has said “Yes” to same sex marriage –but with more enthusiasm in some areas than others.
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Newcastle electorate has posted the biggest “Yes” vote in NSW outside the Sydney area, with a substantial 74.8 per cent of people saying “Yes” to same sex marriage, and only 25.2 per cent returning “No”.

The percentage of Newcastle voters taking part in the controversial n Bureau of Statistics postal survey –82.7 – was also above the NSW and n averageof 79.5 per cent.

Read more:Same sex marriage vote yes results – live updates from the Hunter

All Hunter electorates voted “Yes” to same sex marriage after a long campaign that was by and large respectfully conducted in the region.

While Newcastle was the only Hunter electorate to top the 70 per cent “Yes” barrier, two electorates that fall within the Hunter region boundaries –New England and Lyne –returned the lowest “Yes” votes of 52.5 per cent for New England, and 55.3 per cent for Lyne.

They were a long way from the lowest “Yes” votes in the state, with a number of electorates returning “Yes” votes in the 30s, and the lowest in the state –with only 30.4 per cent of people supporting same sex marriage –in the seat of Watson, around Sydney’s Bankstown, Canterbury and parts of Strathfield.

Senior Federal Labor figure Joel Fitzgibbon’s seat of Hunter returned a 64.4 per cent “Yes” vote, with 35.6 per cent voting “No”. A total of 78.5 per cent of residents posted in a survey response.

The seat of Paterson said “Yes” to the tune of 65.5 per cent of people who responded, with 34.5 per cent saying “No”.

In Shortland 67.7 per cent of people said “Yes” to same-sex marriage, and 32.3 per cent said “No”.

On the Central Coast 65.7 per cent of people inDobell and Robertson voted “Yes”.

In NSW 4,122 million people took part in the survey, with women more likely to respond than men. More than 2.147 million women, or 81.3 per cent of eligible voters, took part, compared with 77.5 per cent of eligible male voters.

InNSW peopleaged 70 to 74 were the most likely to respond to the survey, with 89.8 per centof eligible ns taking part, while 72.1 per cent of peopleaged 30 to 34 responded.