Starting in September, Australians will have the opportunity to vote on the issue of same-sex marriage in Australia via a postal survey. There’s a lot of information to take in and not all of the language is easy to understand. We’ve collated everything we know about the survey right here.
What are we voting on?
Australians will be asked to vote on whether or not they believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
The postal survey will only ask a single question and that question can only be answered with a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’. The question that will be posed in the survey is:
Do you support a change in the law to allow same-sex couples to marry?
High Court decision on postal vote
The postal vote was challenged in the High Court, with advocates arguing the $122 million price tag couldn’t go ahead without approval from the senate. After a two day hearing, the High Court dismissed the challenge and allowed the postal vote to take place unhindered.
One of the Turnbull Government’s election promises was to hold a plebiscite for legalising same-sex marriage. But when it was time to vote for it, the idea was shut down in Parliament.
The postal plebiscite is their backup plan. If a vote for a plebiscite fails again, the government believes a voluntary postal plebiscite can go ahead without needing to pass through the senate.
I don’t want to vote. Do I have to vote?
You don’t have to vote and, unlike an election or a referendum, you will not be fined if you do not participate. If you do not want to vote, the ABS recommends you tear your survey form into two or more pieces and dispose of it.
Will we even get to vote? I’ve heard that the legitimacy of a postal survey is being challenged in the High Court?
Yes, we definitely will. Two High Court challenges were heard on September 5 and September 6, in which two marriage equality advocacy groups argued against the legitimacy and legality of the postal survey.
On September 7, the full bench of the High Court ruled in favour of the Government, who were the defendants in the case.
Thus, from September 12, postal survey response forms will begin to be mailed out to all of those who were on the electoral roll before August 24. There can be no more appeals.