The upcoming Australian Marriage Law (Same Sex Marriage) Postal Survey, will happen by post between September and November, 2017.
It gives Australians a chance to have their say on whether they believe same sex marriage or ‘gay marriage’ should be legalised in Australia.
Participation in the survey isn’t compulsory, but Hope 103.2 encourages listeners to get informed, and vote whichever way you feel is right by your convictions.
You can vote as long you were 18+ and enrolled with the Australian Electoral Commission by August 24, 2017, with your latest address details up to date. For example, if you voted in the last Local, State or Federal election and still live at the same address, you’ll have no problems voting.
What Will Happen in the Marriage Law Survey?
Starting from September 12, all Australians will start receiving ballot papers in the mail and you’ll then have until November 7 to make up your mind, mark your paper with your vote, and post it back. However we strongly encourage you to return your forms by October 27 to make sure they arrive on time.
Australians living overseas will receive their ballot papers in the mail too, if they are registered as overseas voters.
While a result is expected to be announced around November 15, the survey results will not actually determine a automatic outcome. Instead the results will inform the Federal Government about what step to take next.
A ‘Yes’ vote, with the majority of Australians supporting same sex marriage, will prompt the government to put forward a bill legalising it. In this situation most members of Parliament are expected to vote in its favour.
In the case of a ‘No’ result, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that there won’t be bill put forward. In this situation, if a Labor government comes into power in future Federal elections, they are expected to legalise same sex marriage automatically as a matter of policy.
Why it’s Not a Referendum or a Plebiscite
A referendum only happens when the Australian Constitution needs to be changed, and voting in a referendum is compulsory. However, Australia’s marriage laws aren’t part of the Constitution, so this survey is not actually a referendum.
For many months leading up to this postal survey, you may have heard politicians and the media talking about a Same Sex Marriage ‘Plebiscite’. A plebiscite is like a formal government opinion poll used to test the nation’s opinion on a matter. However the Government couldn’t get legislation approved for a plebiscite, and so they’ve opted for a postal survey of all Australians on the Electoral Roll instead.