Marriage equality survey forms take off

Marriage equality survey forms take off

By Kristina Rosengren

600,000 postal survey forms have been sent out today, as part of the marriage equality vote.

They are the first batch to be sent out to the 16 million Australians eligible to vote on whether a same sex couple can marry.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said it will take two weeks to send out all forms to eligible Australians, and everyone should receive a form by the 25th September.

Voters will be supplied with a paid envelope, in which to send back their vote to the ABS.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has  released a sample of the paper it
will send out to voters.

Jonathan Palmer, deputy statistician at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, spoke to the ABC on details of the vote.

The ABS are warning voters not to include any correspondence, complaints or communication in the envelope, such as long essays making a case for why the law should – or should not – be changed, as it will not be addressed or answered.

They are also warning voters to not include any extraneous material in their vote, after advocates for the yes vote encouraged supporters to put glitter into their envelopes.

“Any extraneous material inserted in the envelope with the survey will be destroyed. This could also contaminate processing machinery or result in the survey also being destroyed and not processed,” the ABS said in a statement.

Mr Palmer said it’s really important to only include your vote when you reply.

The deadline to return your vote is 6:00pm on November 7th, with the Coalition saying the result will be unveiled a week after that deadline passes on November 15.

In the meantime, new laws are set to be put towards Parliament this week, making it a crime for anyone to vilify, intimidate or threaten to harm another person based on their gender identity, sexual orientation, intersex status or religious views.

Designed to protect both sides of the same sex marriage debate, the laws will include standard provisions for elections along with additional measures, and will only cover the campaign period.

If the laws are passed, Attorney General George Brandis will need approve any legal complaint against someone before it heads to court, and any person convicted will face a fine of up to $12,600.

The laws will apply both advertising and conduct during the campaign period.


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