Well, well, well. Who’da thunk that a hastily-organised survey on whether LGBTQIA Australians deserve to have the same rights as everyone else would encounter such a massive speed bump so early in the show?
According to a number of eagle-eyed punters, including Dean of the UNSW Law School George Williams, the government has accidentally included 16- and 17-year-olds as being eligible to participate in the upcoming postal vote on marriage equality.
They reckon this is the case because of this particular section of the postal vote direction document:
This is an issue because 16- and 17-year-olds can apply to enrol before they are actually eligible to vote – so the above definition would appear to include them.
Does this mean that a bunch of senior high school students are going to have a say in the upcoming plebiscite?
Yes indeed, it appears that the govt has inadvertently extended the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds nationally in Australia for the first time— George Williams (@ProfGWilliams) August 11, 2017
Well, according to the Australian Electoral Commission, no; but also, don’t ask them, ask the Australian Bureau of Statistics, who are actually carrying out the blasted survey.
AEC statement re Marriage Law Postal Survey – 16 & 17 YOs #auspol pic.twitter.com/hXZEVLqhcu— AEC (@AusElectoralCom) August 11, 2017
15 minutes ago the AEC said they "no comment" on the issue of 16 and 17 year olds voting, and referred me to ABS. pic.twitter.com/G4ZrodJk9M— Osman Faruqi (@oz_f) August 11, 2017
There appears to be some disagreement about whether the wording of that direction document actually requires the ABS to include everyone who’s applied to be on the electoral roll – including teenagers – or whether the ABS will only be allowed to include people who are actually on the electoral roll.
Honestly, regardless of outcome, this is tragically funny. First the rainbow over parliament house, now this highly embarrassing and immediate cock-up – what more does the government need to believe that this whole plebiscite debacle is nothing but an expensive, offensive, shitfully dull and dehumanising waste of everyone’s time?
Including high schoolers, who definitely have better shit to do.
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