Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey
The Commonwealth Treasurer has directed the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to collect “statistical information” from all Australians on the Electoral Roll to determine the nations “views on whether or not the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry.” (www.abs.gov.au).
The ABS is therefore conducting a national, non-compulsory survey asking one question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” Australian citizens had to register with the Australian Electoral Commission by 24 August 2017 to take part in the survey. The survey is not a plebiscite, but is similar to a plebiscite in that the government is not bound by the results of the survey. Changing the law still depends on politicians voting in parliament.
The Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey is set to be challenged in the High Court on 5-6 September 2017. Part of the challenge is on the basis that the Treasurer does not have the authority to authorise the expenditure of some $122 million on the survey. The survey is scheduled to start being mailed out from 12 September 2017 and people are being strongly encouraged to post their survey back by 27 October 2017 to ensure it is received by ABS by the 7 November 2017, 6pm deadline. The results will be published by ABS on 15 November 2017.