If you haven’t had your eye on the news recently, here’s an update: because the Australian senate rejected the same-sex marriage plebiscite, a voluntary postal vote will be happening in September to decide whether or not to change the laws that prohibit same-sex couples from getting married.
The postal vote, which will start rolling out on September 12, is a non-compulsory vote, and is expected to cost around $122 million.
If you’re unsure how to get involved and do it right, here’s a quick guide to making your vote heard in this important decision.
Do I need to enrol?
Short answer: Yes. You need to be enrolled to be able to vote on this issue. If you voted in the last state or federal election, and your details haven’t changed, then you don’t need to re-enroll — your details and status will remain the same.
However, if you didn’t vote in the last election, or your details have changed (like your address, or state), then you will need to go to the AEC website to register. The cut-off date for enrolling is August 24.
If you’re currently 17 years old, but you will be 18 years old by November 7, you are legally allowed to enrol now to vote in the postal vote.
How do I vote?
The ballot papers will be sent out on September 12 and you will be able to vote from that day until November 7.
You will receive a ballot in the mail to your nominated address, which you will then fill out and return via the mail.
Do I have to vote?
No, the vote is not an election, therefore it is not compulsory and you won’t be fined for not participating.
However, you should! This vote is an important chance to get involved and have your say in an issue that affects millions!
Can I vote if I’m overseas?
Yes, you can register on the AEC website as an overseas voter, and the ABS will post you your ballot.
Can I vote online?
No, you will not be able to vote online. This is a strictly post-only vote.
When will we know the results?
A final result is expected to be released by November 15.
What happens if we get a ‘yes’ vote?
Keep in mind: even if the vote results are a majority ‘Yes,’ it won’t automatically legalise same-sex marriage. What will happen is a private member’s bill will be introduced to the house and the members of parliament will be given a ‘free vote’. It is expected to pass this way.
However, if the result is majority ‘No,’ then there will be no bill introduced.