Statistics become cool as Australia votes for gay marriage

Statistics become cool as Australia votes for gay marriage
Members of Sydney's gay community react as they celebrate after it was announced the majority of Australians support same-sex marriage in a national survey, paving the way for legislation to make the country the 26th nation to formalise the unions by the end of the year, at a pub located on Sydney's Oxford street, Australia, November 15, 2017. Source: Reuters/Steven Saphore

Statistics isn’t the coolest or sexist discipline in the world. While those who study stats at uni might go on to earn way more than their classmates that pick arts or humanities, statistics is still considered a bit nerdy.

On Wednesday, however, Australia’s chief statistician was the coolest guy in town.

“I called this media conference to announce the results of the Australian marriage law postal survey,” said the head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), David Kalisch, in his speech.

“It is probably the only time millions of Australians will gather to hear from the Australian statistician,” he said, before announcing that 61.6 percent of Australians voted yes to change the law to allow same-sex marriage, compared with 38.4 percent that said No.

Indeed, thousands of pro-marriage equality advocates gathered in public parks in urban centres, with tears and celebration when Kalisch announced the result.

“ABS statistics provides quality information about our society, our population, the economy and the environment,” he added.

The ABS was tasked by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government to undertake a postal survey among Australia’s voting population to determine the level of support for changing the marriage act to allow for same-sex couples to tie a knot.

With the Yes campaign winning a convincing victory this week, Turnbull has promised to pass gay marriage through parliament by Christmas.

“It gives me great pleasure to return these results back to the community today,” said Kalisch.

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