Last updated 11am, 8th December, 2017

The Australian Parliament has passed a bill legalising same-sex marriage.

The bill passed through the Lower House for the second time with just four members voting against it and some abstaining.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the ABC that he was "proud" the law had been changed while he was Prime Minister.

"It is a great moment in our history. A great moment in our political history," he said.

The bill was introduced to Parliament by Western Australian Senator Dean Smith after a national voluntary postal survey vote returned a 61.6 per cent vote in favour of changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry and 38.4 per cent against. More than 12.7 million people voted in the survey.

Amid concerns over religious freedom, numerous amendments were proposed for the bill but none succeeded.

Mr Turnbull told the ABC that religious freedoms were not threatened by the new law.

The bill was signed into law by Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, on Friday morning and as a result will go into law as of one minute past midnight on 9th December, meaning the first marriages could take place on 9th January. The new law also means same-sex marriages which have taken place overseas will be recognised.

The Coalition for Marriage - which led the 'no' campaign during the postal survey, said the passing of the unamended bill was indicative of the disregard many MPs have for the "freedoms of Australians and the upholding of international human rights obligations".

“It is deeply disappointing that both the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader reneged on the assurances they gave to the Australian people during the marriage campaign,” said spokesman Lyle Shelton.

“The Australian people were promised that their freedom of speech, freedom of religion and parental rights would be protected in any same-sex marriage legislation, and this has not happened."