No legal protections for postal survey

Revelations that the government’s ridiculous $122 million postal survey on marriage equality will have no legal protections against voter fraud, bribery or deceptive campaign material have completely undermined its integrity before ballots are even sent out.

MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

TERRI BUTLER MP

SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR PREVENTING FAMILY VIOLENCE

SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR UNIVERSITIES

SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR EQUALITY

MEMBER FOR GRIFFITH

 

NO LEGAL PROTECTIONS FOR POSTAL SURVEY 

Revelations that the government’s ridiculous $122 million postal survey on marriage equality will have no legal protections against voter fraud, bribery or deceptive campaign material have completely undermined its integrity before ballots are even sent out.

Thanks to the government’s insistence on going around the parliament and pursuing an expensive postal survey, the usual protections under the Commonwealth Electoral Act – carefully designed to protect the integrity of national elections – will not apply.

Following on from the Census disaster, Australians have every right to concerned that this expensive and inaccurate survey will be a total mess.

And now Senator Cormann has acknowledged no legal protections for voters will exist.

Let’s be clear what this means:

  • There will be no way to stop lies being published by anti-marriage equality activists in an attempt to win votes. That means hateful material about the kids of same-sex couples, the kind which we have already seen, can be distributed without recourse.
  • Campaign material will not have to be authorised, so voters won’t even know where it comes from.
  • There is nothing to stop someone else filling out your ballot paper instead of you.
  • There is nothing to stop voters being bribed or intimidated into voting one way or another.
  • Finally, there is no way to question voting irregularities or to dispute the result through the Court of Disputed Returns.

This is absurd. It’s more proof that a postal survey is an expensive, inaccurate and divisive waste of time.  

Not only is the government forcing LGBTI Australians to stand for a vote on whether they deserve equal rights, they will not even give any guarantees that the vote won’t be fraudulent.

Australians deserve far better than this. None of this would have to happen if Prime Minister Turnbull had the guts to allow a free vote in his party room.

Australian taxpayers are footing a $122 billion bill for Malcolm Turnbull’s weakness.

It’s unnecessary, hurtful, and now we know it will be a complete farce.

THURSDAY, 10 AUGUST