What You Need To Know About The Same-Sex Marriage Survey

Picture credit: Twitter / @workmanalice

If you’re eager to have your say in the Marriage Law Survey, it’s important you fill out your ballot correctly and on time. Here’s everything you need to know…

How to complete the ballot:

The question is quite simple, “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”.

And filling out the form is just as simple.

  1. Using a dark pen, mark one box (yes or no) on the survey form.
  2. Put your form (and nothing else) in the enclosed envelope.
  3. Put that envelope in the mail. No stamp is needed.

If you’re thinking of including glitter, a complaint or any other additions suggested on social media, think again. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has warned “any extraneous material inserted in the envelope” could “result in the survey being destroyed and not processed”.

What the vote means:

The vote is non-compulsory, meaning if you receive a survey package and don’t vote, you will not be fined.

The survey results are non-binding, meaning a majority of ‘yes’ votes will not change the current marriage law.

So, how does the law get changed? If the majority of Australians who return the form vote yes for same-sex marriage, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has agreed to have a free vote in parliament. Politicians can still vote ‘no’ during a free vote in parliament regardless of the survey results, and therefore the current law may still not change. However, a free vote will not happen at all if the majority of Australians vote ‘no’ on their ballot.

Key dates to remember:

Tuesday, 12 September – Forms begin to be mailed out. This process could take up to two weeks, with rural and remote areas prioritised.

Monday, 25 September – You should have received your survey package by this date. The ABS asks for Australians not to contact them until after the 25 September if you have not received your forms in the mail.

Telephone and online response options open for people who cannot complete the paper survey, such as those who have told the ABS they will be overseas. Survey forms are also available for collection in capital city and regional locations. This is suggested for people experiencing homelessness.

Friday, 20 October – Lost your forms? This is the final day for requesting or picking up replacement survey forms, or for requesting a Secure Access Code to access telephone and online response options. Make sure you do it by 6pm.

Friday, 27 October – The ABS recommends you have your ballot sent in before this date to ensure it counts.

Tuesday, 7 November – The survey closes at 6pm. If your ballot is received after this, it will not be counted.

Wednesday, 15 November – Survey results will be published on the ABS website.


Too much detail above? Here are four simple steps to ensure your voice is heard.

  1. Make sure you receive a ballot by September 25.
  2. Fill out the form correctly using a dark pen.
  3. Post your form back in the provided envelope straight away (so you don’t forget), or by 27 October at the latest.
  4. Head to the ABS website on 15 November to see the results.



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