If you spent the weekend on Facebook or Twitter, you'd be forgiven for thinking the same-sex marriage survey has descended into a slanging match about anarchist protesters, a headbutting DJ, and, depending on how you look at it, a "Vote Yes" text that was disastrously invasive or entirely reasonable.
But on the streets, it was a different story. Over 2000 volunteers assembled in various parts of Australia to pound the pavement and knock 100,000 doors — trying to turn out a "yes" vote. Edwina Carr-Lyall and her 13-year-old daughter Sarah, from Glebe, were two of the 50-odd campaigners that turned up at War Memorial Park in the inner-city suburb of Leichhardt.
Carr-Lyall laughed when BuzzFeed News asked if they had been involved in any political campaigning before.
"No!" she said. First-time activists.
"It’s shameful and embarrassing that Australia has to do it this way," Carr-Lyall said. "Even now there’s a possibility it might not happen. It’s not binding."
She sighed with frustration: "It’s a non-political, basic human right that’s been handled really badly. It got us out of home, on the streets, wanting to do something."
The group of volunteers included many other first-timers, working alongside seasoned political campaigners from Labor, the Greens and various unions. The strategy of the doorknock was clear: don't convince, just get people to fill out and post the survey.
"We're not asking people to change their vote," an Equality Campaign staff member told a group of volunteers during a 10-minute training session. "At this stage, we feel like most people have made up their minds on this issue."