Articles about voting issues in the Commonwealth of Australia.

Australia: Voting Twice Online in Australia’s Same-Sex Marriage Poll Was Frighteningly Easy | Mother Jones

For the past month, Australians have been casting their ballots in a nonbinding-yet-divisive survey to advise their elected leaders on the question: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” As an overseas Aussie who cares deeply about the issue, I wanted my say. So, one day a few weeks ago, I entered my personal details into a designated government website and received a “Secure Access Code” that allowed me to cast my vote online. When I checked my mail later that day, however, I found a letter from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the agency administering the survey. This letter contained a different Secure Access Code. My reporter’s red flag flew up immediately. Was it possible, I wondered, that the system would validate both of these codes and let me vote twice? That would be a potentially troubling situation, because if I could do it, then others could, too. I had to find out. Read More

Australia: Outbreak of homophobic violence, vandalism in same-sex marriage campaign | sydney Morning Herald

Swastikas and vile phrases such as “vote no to fags” have been scrawled on trains, and homes flying the rainbow flag have been attacked, in an outbreak of homophobic violence and vandalism accompanying the postal survey on same-sex marriage. Tasmanian police have also laid charges over the alleged assault of a transgender teenager in Hobart on Friday, just a day after former prime minister Tony Abbott was headbutted by a self-proclaimed anarchist DJ in the same area. The incidents further test Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s claim that “overwhelmingly, Australians are engaging in this debate respectfully”, with six weeks to go until the deadline for survey forms to be received by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Read More

Australia: Controversial gay marriage vote gets under way | The Economist

The question reads, “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” Ballots asking it have been posted to Australia’s 16m registered voters. They have until early November to return them; the result will be announced on November 15th. Rallies for and against are being held around the country. Earlier this month 30,000 supporters of gay marriage gathered outside Sydney’s town hall, waving placards with slogans like, “It’s a love story baby, just say yes.” One of those saying yes is Malcolm Turnbull, the prime minister. But many Australians criticise him for calling the vote at all. Opinion polls consistently show that most Australians support gay marriage. Proponents say a simple vote in parliament, which also has a majority in favour, would have saved money and avoided a divisive campaign. Read More

Australia: Postal survey panned as ‘insecure’ as complaints pile up | New Daily

Claims of stolen same-sex marriage ballots, weather-damaged postal survey envelopes and other anomalies have prompted a stern warning from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and calls for the entire process to be scrapped. The survey has been marred by anecdotal complaints since the ABS began mailing out ballot papers, including that some had been sent to residents’ former addresses, sparking concerns that they could be filled out illegally. At the weekend, survey envelopes at seven Canberra apartment blocks were reportedly found left out in the rain rather than delivered to individual letter boxes, while a Senate committee on Friday heard claims that some people had received postal packs without reply paid envelopes. Read More

Australia: Gay marriage vote revealed through envelope by torch | Daily Mail

A photo claiming to show how the supposedly secret same-sex marriage postal vote can be seen through the envelope created controversy online. The image appears to show a gay marriage vote form with the ‘no’ box ticked being illuminated through the envelope with a torch. The photo began circulating on social media after a concerned voter saw the image pop up on his Facebook news feed. ‘So we wasted $122 million on a survey where a torch can reveal the answer through the reply envelope it came with.’ The person who posted the photo said they would ‘be voting yes… if it will even be counted now after this stuff up’. Read More

Australia: Same-sex marriage postal survey ballot for sale on eBay | The West Australian

An eBay user is attempting to sell their ballot paper in the upcoming same-sex marriage postal survey.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics will start mailing out forms for the postal ballot on Tuesday, after the High Court dismissed a challenge to the eight-week national survey. User Garistides posted the item on the online auction website today with a price of $1500. “The reason I’m selling my vote is because either way I don’t care but thought there are people who do,” the post read. “Part of this auction proceeds will go to help kids battling cancer.” The West Australian has contacted Garistides, who confirmed the offer is genuine. According to the ABS, attempting to sell a ballot paper would likely be an offence against the Census and Statistics Act 1905 or the Commonwealth Criminal Code. A conviction could lead to a $2100 fine or 12 months imprisonment. Read More

Australia: Same-sex marriage postal survey is lawful, high court finds | The Guardian

The federal government’s same-sex marriage postal vote is lawful, the high court has found, clearing the way for the Australian Bureau of Statistics to send voting forms to 16 million Australians. The seven high court judges unanimously dismissed the legal challenge mounted by Andrew Wilkie, PFlag (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), and Melbourne lesbian mother Felicity Marlowe. The court also unanimously dismissed the case brought by senator Janet Rice and Australian Marriage Equality. The judges ordered the plaintiffs to pay costs. The survey will be sent out from 12 September and the result announced on 15 November 2017, ministers George Brandis and Mathias Cormann said after the judgment was announced. Read More

Australia: How a nonbinding mail-in vote on marriage equality backfired in Australia | The Week

If Australian conservatives thought young people would ignore a nonbinding postal survey on marriage equality, they were wrong. Under pressure from his party’s vocal right wing, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Aug. 8 that a nonbinding plebiscite (or vote) of the nation’s citizens will be held by mail to determine whether Australians support legalizing same-sex marriage. Notwithstanding that we already know the stance of most Australians on marriage equality — they support it, according to a number of recent polls — the option of a plebiscite had been strongly opposed by LGBT communities and marriage equality advocates. They’d pushed for a vote in Parliament that would have changed the marriage law. In early September, Australia’s High Court will consider whether the planned plebiscite is unconstitutional. Critics say the postal survey is little more than an opinion poll — one designed to defer action on marriage equality and perhaps skew results in favor of older, more conservative respondents. Read More

Australia: Marriage survey: two-thirds of new voters are aged 18-24 | The Conversation

About two-thirds of the nearly 100,000 people added to the electoral roll ahead of the same-sex marriage postal ballot are young voters, according to final figures issued by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on Wednesday. Between August 8 and 24 the AEC dealt with 933,592 enrolment transactions, 87% of which were changes or updates. Those making changes and re-enrolments were mostly electors aged 25 to 39. More than 98,000 were added to the roll, of whom 65,000 are aged 18-24. More than 16 million people are eligible to vote in the voluntary ballot. Voting papers are due to start to go out from September 12, assuming the High Court rules favourably for the government on the constitutionality of the ballot. Read More

Australia: Malcolm Roberts’s election may have been invalid, government solicitor tells court | The Guardian

Malcolm Roberts could be the exception among sitting parliamentarians ensnared in the dual citizen saga in that his election in 2016 may have been invalid, the high court has heard. Roberts and former senator Scott Ludlam were different to the other three politicians so far referred to the high court – Barnaby Joyce, Larissa Waters and Matt Canavan – because they knew they had been citizens of other countries, the solicitor-general, Stephen Donaghue, told the court on Thursday. Tony Windsor, the former independent MP and rival to Joyce, has been allowed to join the citizenship case, which chief justice Susan Kiefel has set down hearings in Canberra in October. Read More