Australia: Rules against malicious campaign material will not apply to same-sex marriage postal vote

Lobbyists on both sides of the marriage equality debate will be free to distribute misleading and deceptive material ahead of the same-sex marriage postal vote, because the usual campaign rules have been discarded.

In order to circumvent the Senate, the Turnbull government's optional marriage survey will be conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, meaning the safeguards of the Commonwealth Electoral Act would not apply. 

Despite that, Fairfax Media understands the government is working with the ABS on a list of regulations that it says will ensure the process is proper, to be released on Monday. However, those would not be underpinned by law.

"This is now going to be a matter for the ABS to determine," Acting Special Minister of State Mathias Cormann said on Wednesday night. Senator Cormann said "the usual laws apply" regarding fraud and mail theft, but acknowledged there would be no legal protections for LGBTI people who fear they will be the victim of a vicious two-month hate campaign. Read more via Sydney Morning Herald