News National This is what the same-sex marriage survey form looks like

This is what the same-sex marriage survey form looks like

Same-sex marriage ballot
The survey forms will be mailed out across the country from Tuesday. Photo: ABS.
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

It is a simple question, with big implications: should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released a sample of the paper it will send out to voters as it pushes ahead with the same-sex marriage postal survey.

The first survey papers will be mailed to voters on Tuesday.

More than 16 million voters are eligible to vote in the survey – and the ABS says it will take two weeks to send out forms to all of them. Everyone on the electoral roll should have a form by September 25.

Many of those are first-time voters. The bureau said last month that 90,000 Australians joined the electoral roll in the lead-up to the vote.

That buoyed Yes campaigners, who said many of those were young Australians joining the roll in order to vote for change.

But the No campaign is also ramping up its efforts to convince Australians not to change the law, and says any predictions of victory from their opponents are premature.

There is little on the survey form, other than the question itself.

The bureau has been discouraging voters from using that blank space for doodles, warning that any graffiti might make it difficult for your vote to be read.

Voters will also be given a reply paid envelope to send back their paper back to the ABS.

But the ABS is also warning people not to use the envelope to send it long essays making a case for why the law should – or should not – be changed.

“Please do not include correspondence, complaints or other communication – it will not be answered,” it reads.

ABS warns against extraneous material in envelopes

Some advocates for change have taken to social media to encourage people to put glitter in their envelopes.

But the ABS has taken a dim view of that suggestion as well, making it clear that any envelopes with glitter in them will simply be binned.

“Any extraneous material inserted in the envelope with the survey will be destroyed. This could also contaminate processing machinery or result in the survey also being destroyed and not processed,” it says.

The sample survey form also includes a reminder that the final deadline to return your vote is 6:00pm on November 7.

The Coalition says the result will be unveiled a week after that deadline passes on November 15.

The chief statistician is expected to make the announcement just before midday.

If the vote is “yes” expect a swift vote in Parliament. Most close observers think same-sex marriage will be law before the end of the year.

If the vote is “no” then there will be no immediate change, but those championing change have vowed to keep on pressing their case.