Ready to have your say on same-sex marriage? Here’s all you need to know about having your say in the postal plebiscite (aka nationwide vote) to give your feedback on the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.
Make sure you are enrolled
If you’re 18 and over and enrolled to vote, you can have a say in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. About 5.8 per cent of Australians are currently not enrolled to vote, according to the latest Australian Electoral Commission data, so you’ve got until 6pm on August 24 to make sure you’re on the electoral roll (that’s just over one week away!).
To enrol online, you’ll need some ID like a drivers licence or Australian passport.
If you voted in the last election, you’ll automatically be enrolled to vote, but if you’ve moved, you’ll need to update your address to receive your ballot papers. Head to www.aec.gov.au/enrol to update your details.
Is voting compulsory?
Unlike elections, the postal vote is not compulsory. It’s a voluntary vote, so it’s really important to make sure you’re on the electoral roll by August 24 so you can have your say on same-sex marriage.
What if I’m travelling or living overseas during the vote?
If you are travelling overseas for a holiday or just a short trip and plan to return to your usual address in Australia, if you’re already enrolled to vote, you’ll need to submit an overseas notification form on the AEC website. If you’re not enrolled and already overseas, you’ll have to complete the form to enrol to vote for federal elections outside Australia by 6pm on August 24.
If you live overseas and are registered as an overseas elector, the ABS will post your ballot to you so you can still have your say.
When is the vote?
Ballot papers will be mailed from September 12, and you’ll have until November 7, 2017 to mail your postal vote back to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which is conducting the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.
What happens next?
The final result from the postal vote is expected by November 15, 2017. If it’s a ‘yes’ vote, a private member’s bill (or a proposed amendment to the law) will be introduced to the house in the final sitting fortnight of 2017 (the last week of November and the first week of December). Members of Parliament will be allowed a free vote, and the same-sex marriage plebiscite would be passed for amendments to the current marriage act. If the postal plebiscite returns a ‘no’ vote, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said no bill will proceed.
For more information, visit www.aec.gov.au/enrol