I don’t know about you, but my news feeds on Facebook and Twitter, as well as my news outlets, has been roaring with an overwhelming amount of info on the marriage equality postal plebiscite. The process of the postal plebiscite is utter bullshit if you ask me, poorly decided method that has seen a government over extend its power and spend a lot of unnecessary money. But it’s important to remember, that it is the outcome that will leave the most poignant affect on the LGBTQI community in Australia. This campaign is very real. So considering that tomorrow is the last official day to enrol to vote or update your enrolment details, it may be important to discuss the nitty gritty of the process. Here’s some information to simplify some of the overwhelming content bombarding you online.
“Voting yes is not about endorsing this illegitimate process, it’s about refusing to walk past our fellow Australians when they need us.” Bill Shorten
Let’s start off with enrolment. If you haven’t already enrolled or updated your details, do it now! The task is simple, straightforward and can be completed on a mobile device. It is absolutely vital that we young people, the generation that is deemed as lazy and frivolous, prove our government wrong. Despite the logistical issues of such a survey, marriage equality is imperative and stands a place in modern Australian society.
It’s Not Compulsory
Unlike voting for the Australian leading part, this plebiscite vote is not compulsory, so if you don’t get your postal vote in, that vote won’t be counted. The ABS will start sending out postal votes on the 12th of September so be sure to keep an eye on your mailbox. If you decide not to vote, be sure to destroy your forms. If you have chosen to participate in the vote, be sure to return your paperwork by the 7th of November.
There Is A Paperless Option
If you’re based overseas or cannot get your material by post due to reasons of disability, you can vote via a paperless method. If you’re eligible you can request a secure access code and then you can indicate your response to the plebiscite. You can also authorise a person of trust to fill your form out on your behalf.
What About The High Court Challenge?
The postal survey faces two High Court challenges, set to happen in Melbourne on the 5th and 6th of September. It’s not yet clear when the court will hand down its decision as to whether or not the postal vote should be illegal. But it’s assumed to be quick, as mail outs should start by the 12th of September. The fight is based on the premise that the government has overstretched its powers, as it does not have the right to spend 122 million dollars on a postal vote, furthermore conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Mark Drefus, the Labour party’s legal affairs spokesperson has said the high court challenges face a success of 50/50.
And If The Vote Goes Ahead?
Unlike our New Zealand counterparts, Australia has been left trailing behind when it comes to marriage equality. I mean FFS one of the most Catholic nations in the world (Ireland) has welcomed marriage equality for more than two years. Australia is often considered a progressive nation, a forefront thinker on issues such as equality and justice. Yet same-sex couples in long-term relationships, parenting children, are not permitted to marry in the eyes of the law. The logic is perplexing. If the postal survey is to go ahead, let’s not put 122 million dollars of government spending down the drain. We need to embrace the vote and be sure to participate. It is through your participation in such a vote, that you could help to change the lives of many people around the country including your own (if that’s the case). Don’t stand on the sidelines.
Thursday 24th August – cut off to enrol to vote or to update your enrolment details
Tuesday 12th September – voting forms start being sent out
Wednesday 11th October –requests to replace damaged or lost forms closes
Friday 27th October – the date all Aussies are strongly encouraged to return forms
Tuesday 7th November – final deadline to return forms
Wednesday 15th November – survey results released
Image Source: Star Observer.