Silent voters will get a say in the marriage postal survey

Silent voters will get to participate in the postal survey on marriage, according to the latest information from the Australian Electoral Commission.

Following the second defeat of their plebiscite legislation in the senate, the government has directed the Australian Bureau of Statistics to undertake a survey of the entire population of Australia to gauge their interest in changing the marriage laws so that same-sex couples can wed.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will be supplied with the details of registered voters to allow them to undertake the mammoth task. There was concern that ‘silent voters’ would miss out.

A significant number of people are listed as ‘silent voters’ with their addresses not appearing on the electoral roll. This includes high profile Australians, politicians and lawyers.

The Australian Electoral Commission has clarified that survey forms will be sent to silent voters directly and at no time will there details be passed on the ABS.

Concern that the Australian Bureau of Statistics might not be up to the job

A union that represents workers at the ABS has expressed concern that the agency may not be able to effectively deliver the survey given the government’s tight timeline for delivering a result.

Staff reportedly have “grave concerns” about the roll out of the survey and fear it could be a repeat of the census debacle of 2016.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald the concerns of the Community and Public Sector Union have been dismissed by senior ABS staff who argue that the union only represents a small number of its workforce.

Chief Statistician David Kalisch says the task is challenging but the ABS will be able to meet the communities expectations.

Homeless People, People Living in Remote Areas and Overseas Voters may miss out

There has been no information on how people who are homeless will be able to participate in the national survey.

The last census suggested that there were 105,000 homeless people in Australia, but this number is expected to be inaccurate as many would not have taken part in the census.

Overseas voters can register with the Australian embassy or consulate in the country they live in to receive the survey papers, but many may be unaware the the process in underway.

The ABS has promised to release a strategy on how it will tackle the challenge of including people living in remote regions, who may be transient or not have a fixed postal address.

To be included in the survey people must be enrolled to vote with the Australian Electoral Commission before 24 August, and there is concern that many people will miss out due to the lack of information.

OIP Staff


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