While the government will facilitate debate in parliament on same-sex marriage if the postal survey 'yes' vote succeeds on Wednesday, it won't guarantee much more than that.
Politicians are scrambling to prepare for the next stage in the debate, which polls suggest will return a 'yes' vote, with the government considering a Liberal senator's private member's bill as the best way forward.
"(Senator) Dean Smith's bill is as good a bill as any to start the debate," Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne told Sky News on Sunday.
"It'll be up to the parliament whether that is passed by Christmas."
Nearly eight in 10 Australians who received survey forms have had their say, with a result to be announced at 10am on Wednesday.
Senator Smith confirmed on the weekend that he would introduce his same-sex marriage bill, first proposed in August, on Thursday if the 'yes' vote was successful.
"Australians will not tolerate delay," Senator Smith told Sky News.
Deputy government leader in the Senate, Mathias Cormann, said he would like the issue resolved before Christmas.
"In the end, we're in the hands of the parliament, but there won't be a government position in relation to the bill," he told reporters in Perth\.
Manager of Opposition Business Tony Burke said people just wanted the parliament to push the change through.
"Malcolm Turnbull has dragged us through a pretty ugly debate," Mr Burke told reporters in Sydney.
"For the people who campaigned for a 'no' vote, to think they can use a 'yes' outcome as a mandate for their position is truly bizarre."