A contentious postal survey on same-sex marriage kicked off in Australia Tuesday, with ballots delivered across the vast continent in advance of an expected fractious campaign between the “yes” and “no” sides.
While there has been growing guide for marriage equality, with 70 percent of those surveyed in a brand new Fairfax Media poll on Tuesday backing the “yes” campaign, Australia has not but legalised such unions in spite of extra than a decade of political wrangling.
The conservative government chose an uncommon technique — a voluntary and non-binding postal vote — after an election promise of a national plebiscite become knocked back two times by using the upper house Senate.
“I encourage all and sundry to fill in the survey and return it. I’ll be voting ‘yes’ as will (my wife) Lucy,” prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull advised commercial radio this week.
Turnbull, a moderate, is opposed by using a few members of his conservative ruling Liberal-national coalition on legalising gay marriage, with the postal vote seen as a compromise.
The begin of the poll process followed rallies on the weekend for and towards changing marriage laws, with thousands of people wearing rainbow colors packing central Sydney on Sunday to returned the “yes” vote.
Masses of “no” campaigners marched on Saturday, arguing that changes could infringe on religious freedom and kids’s rights.
Up to 15 million Australians might be asked: “should the law be changed to permit same-sex couples to marry?” at the poll paper and given the choice of marking “yes” or “no” boxes.
But “yes” campaigners have warned the method of amassing votes, via the postal machine, can be less effective at engaging more youthful tech-savvy Australians, who are seen as greater supportive of converting the laws.
National party MPs have additionally voiced situation about Australia post’s abilities to supply the survey to rural and regional areas throughout the great country.
The postal vote will close on November 7, with the end result launched on November 15.
If maximum Australians vote “yes”, the authorities will move for a parliamentary vote, however will not achieve this if there may be a “no” final results.
The survey has shed light on how rare national non-binding plebiscites are in Australia. The votes are distinctive in the country to referendums, which have an effect on the constitution.
Just 3 have been held — two on conscription in 1916 and 1917, and one on which song need to be the national anthem in 1977.
however all occurred below the Electoral Act, unlike the postal survey which is being finished through the Australian Bureau of statistics.
The bureau was given the assignment with the aid of Canberra to keep away from the need for parliamentary approval, however that supposed the marriage poll did now not appeal to advertising protections in opposition to malicious campaign material in force during elections — a key subject for activists fearing it may unleash a barrage of homophobia.
Politicians this week have been scrambling to pass similar election-kind safeguards limiting material that might be misleading and deceptive.