On 9 August it was announced that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) would run a non-binding and voluntary postal survey on the issue of same-sex marriage.
The ABS will obtain information from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) so that they can send postal ballots to registered voters. The ABS is conducting the survey in absence of parliamentary approval for the AEC to administer the vote.
There are powers for the Australian Statistician to collect statistical information but there are questions about whether public views on same-sex marriage fall within this scope. This relates to the legal limits on the agency’s powers to collect information which will be considered in the upcoming High Court challenge.
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Can the Australian Bureau of Statistics be trusted with voters’ data?