With the Australian Senate voting down legislation again for a same sex marriage plebiscite, the Australian government has announced it plans to undertake an Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey to determine the views of the Australian public on whether the law should be changed to allow same sex couples the right to marry. Australians living overseas will also be able to participate.
Update 24 August 2017
Update 7 September 2017
The High Court of Australia rejected two appeals against the same sex marriage survey, and so the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey will be going ahead as planned.
The same sex marriage plebiscite
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will run the survey and will request responses (not compulsory) from all Australians on the Australian electoral roll.
Australians living overseas will be able to participate in the same sex marriage survey if they are Australian citizens, aged over 18 years of age, and are registered on the Australian electoral roll at 6pm (local Australian time) on Thursday 24 August 2017.
The results of the survey will be published by 15 November 2017.
Australians Living Overseas
If you are overseas and are intending to return to Australia within six years you can register as an overseas elector.
If you are already enrolled, you can apply to be an overseas elector up to three months before, or within three years after, you leave Australia by submitting a completed “Registration as an overseas elector” form.
If you are not enrolled, and have been overseas for less than three years, you may still be eligible to enrol if you are an Australian citizen aged 18 years or older and intend to return to Australia within six years by submitting a completed “Enrol to vote for federal elections from outside Australia” form.
How to vote in the same sex marriage plebiscite for Australians living overseas
ABS deputy statistician Jonathan Palmer told a Senate hearing into Finance and Public Administration on Thursday 17 August 2017 that the ABS is considering several options for Australians living overseas which might include a “paperless” option. He said “It could be an online form, it could be a touch-tone telephone solution, it could be an SMS text message but we are still working out what could be the best option for a paperless return”.
We will update this page when we have further information.
You can check your enrolment , or dowload relevant forms on the AEC website at www.aec.gov.au/Enrolling_to_vote/overseas/index.htm