Irishman in key role as Australians say yes to gay marriage
The Donegal man working as Director of Australia's Equality Campaign has expressed his delight at the country's overwhelming vote for same-sex marriage.
Australia's chief statistician revealed that 61.6pc of voters favoured marriage equality, with 38.4pc against.
It will become the 26th nation to formalise the unions if the legislation is passed by parliament - which is expected, despite some vocal opposition.
Tiernan Brady, who has been working on the campaign since April 2016, is delighted with the result, but says it doesn't come as too much of a shock.
"The more I travelled, the more I realised the values of Australia are aligned with the values of the Irish. It's no surprise at all that the results almost match that of Ireland's vote," he said.
- Read more: 'It's been the most incredible journey' - Irishman behind Australia's marriage equality yes vote celebrates win
Despite the similarity to Ireland's result, Mr Brady, who formerly worked as Political Director during Ireland's referendum, says there were enormous differences too. "The great challenge we had here was the scale of the country. In Ireland, we could get up in the morning and drive to the other side of the county, have lunch and be home again later. We don't have that here. The challenge from that was how do you make sure people in towns and villages across Australia know how powerful their vote is."
Children's Minister Katherine Zappone said that Northern Ireland should be next to endorse marriage equality. The minster said the ban on gay marriage in the North "continues to cast a shadow over the progress made not just in the south, but also in England, Scotland and Wales".
"It is simply wrong that our brothers and sisters cannot marry the person they love. I will travel to Belfast next month to meet campaigners and brief them on our experiences on the long road to equal marriage," Ms Zappone said.
"As well as offering solidarity, I will encourage them to be resilient. It is often forgotten that the journey to marriage equality here, as in Australia, was marked by setbacks.There were dark days in the courts, at political level and even in the wider community."