The voluntary postal vote will go ahead as planned with the High Court ruling it is indeed constitutional. This is the option the Government was hoping for and it means papers will soon arrive in letter boxes.
The ABS will start sending out ballot papers from September 12 and everyone should have received their survey form by September 25.
They paper will ask “should the law be changed to allow same sex couples to marry?” but returning the survey and participating in the ballot is optional.
Forms have to be returned by 6pm on November 7 at the latest and the result will be announced on 15 November 2017.
If the result is that the Australian people who choose to return their ballot papers say no – then the Prime Minister has said the Government would not support a private members bill on the issue going ahead in parliament.
But if those who participate in the survey vote yes, then Malcolm Turnbull has said a private members bill could be debated and voted on by the end of the year.
The Government has also said it will legislate to ensure that advertising for the “yes” and “no” cases meets the usual electoral rules including protections against malicious publications and bribery.
The High Court’s ruling means the advertising for both sides will now intensify. There will be pressure on Federal parliamentarians to explain what they will do if Australians vote yes.
So far some MPs have pledged to “respect” the result of the survey but have not said if that means they would vote according to the overall national result or instead if they mean they would back the result from their electorate or state.Share