You can check your enrollment at check.aec.gov.au. The cut-off date for updating enrollment details and for new voters to be part of the plebiscite was August 24. If you check your enrollment and find your address isn’t right, you should call the ABS on 1800 572 113 between 8am and 8pm to put down an alternative address where they can send your ballot. The ABS will also advertise locations in every capital city, and some regional and remote locations, where people can pick up and return their plebiscite forms. Locations, dates and times for where forms can be picked up will be advertised on the ABS website.
There are several ways you can participate if you’re overseas, depending on whether you are a registered overseas elector or are still enrolled at your Australian address.
You have the option to ask a trusted person to receive your form on your behalf, open it, complete it based on your instructions and return it to the ABS. More information about this option can be found here.
You can also request a Secure Access Code from the ABS through the Information Line (+61 1800 572 113, 7 days a week, 8am - 8pm) or the ABS website from 25 September to 20 October 2017. Then you will be able to complete the plebiscite online, via the automated telephony service or via a call centre.
There are several ways you can participate if you’re overseas.
If you’re temporarily overseas, you might be able to complete your plebiscite form before you leave or after you return. Plebiscite forms will be delivered by 25 September and need to be received at the ABS by the 7 November deadline. Make sure you allow enough time for it to be delivered after you post it.
If you’re overseas for the entire period, you have the option to ask a trusted person to receive your form on your behalf, open it, complete it based on your instructions and return it to the ABS. More information about this option can be found here.
If neither of the above options are possible, you can request a Secure Access Code from the ABS through the Information Line (1800 572 113, 7 days a week, 8am - 8pm) or the ABS website from 25 September to 20 October 2017. Then you will be able to complete the plebiscite online, via the automated telephony service or via a call centre.
Yes. Silent Electors will be sent their plebiscite forms by the Australian Electoral Commission. Plebiscite forms, which do not include a person’s name or address will be returned to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) through the supplied reply paid envelope. The ABS will, at no time, know the address of silent electors.
According to the ABS, only people who had turned 18 by August 24 will be included on the roll.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has said the question will be: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”.
No — the postal plebiscite is voluntary. You won't be fined if you don't participate. However, we strongly encourage you to vote YES for marriage equality! It's important we get as large a YES vote as possible to achieve marriage equality as soon as possible.
Ballots will be sent out from September 12. You should expect to see your ballot soon after 12 September. Returning your YES vote straight away is the best way to make sure your vote for marriage equality counts.
The package containing the plebiscite form will include a reply paid envelope and instructions on how to complete the plebiscite form.
The best thing is to simply mark the YES box and not write any other messages or draw anything on the ballot. However, as long as you have a "clearly legible" mark in either the "yes" or "no" box your vote should be counted.
We STRONGLY advise against it. The ABS has warned that any extra material in the envelope other than the plebiscite response will be destroyed and “due to processing machinery or possible contamination, may result in the survey form also being destroyed and therefore not processed”. Please don’t take the risk that your vote for equality isn’t counted!
Returning your YES vote straight away is the best way to make sure your vote for marriage equality counts. You don’t want to lose your ballot or forget! Your ballot must reach the ABS by 6pm November 7th, 2017. The ABS strongly encourages you to return forms by October 27.
Lost or spoilt plebiscite forms can be replaced. Requests must be made by the voter themselves or a legally authorised person (ie a person with power of attorney, authorised carer for person with severe disability etc).
Requests for replacement materials will only be accepted until 6pm 18 October 2017 and details on how to do this will be published on the ABS website when finalised.
The results will be announced on November 15.
The results for the YES/NO/invalid count for a) the country; b) federal electorates; and c) states and territories will be announced on November 15.
A bill still needs to pass the parliament for marriage equality to be successful, regardless of the result of the plebiscite.
If a YES vote wins, the government has said it will allow its MPs a free vote (meaning all members and senators can vote however they like) on a private members’ bill for same-sex marriage. Many governments MPs have pledged to follow the result of the postal plebiscite, but others have said they will ignore it or just use it as a guide.
If the NO vote wins, the government will not allow a free vote on a bill for marriage equality and will try to stop a private members’ bill for same-sex marriage going to the Parliament.
This is because it is being conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) not the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). The ABS has a mandate to collect statistics, but not to conduct elections.
The postal plebiscite is costing Australian taxpayers $122 million.