Over the last two days, the High Court of Australia has been hearing arguments for and against the legality of the upcoming same-sex marriage postal survey. Today, they have ruled that the postal survey will go ahead. We have all the details here.
We originally reported on the High Court challenges against the same-sex marriage postal survey here, discussing the legal arguments that were being brought forward in an effort to stop the survey from taking place in the first place.
In brief: Two marriage equality groups brought forward their cases to the High Court of Australia. The first, case M105, was led by Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and Felicity Marlowe and the second, case M106, was brought forward by Senator Janet Rice and the advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality.
Both of these advocacy groups were arguing that the postal survey was unlawful on several grounds – that the Government could not appropriate the funds to conduct the survey, that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) could not legally conduct the survey and that the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) was unable to hand over voter information to the ABS. These arguments were heard on September 5
The Government, the Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, the Treasurer, the Australian Statistician and the Australian Electoral Commissioner, who were the defendants in these two cases, argued to the full bench of the High Court on September 6 that the postal survey is legal, that they had the ability to appropriate the $122 million that it will cost and that the activities of the ABS and the AEC are perfectly legal.
At 2:15pm AEST, September 7, the High Court ruled in favour of the defendants. There are no more avenues for appeal and thus, the same-sex marriage survey will go ahead.
The ‘Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey’, as it is officially known, will begin on September 12 with ballots being posted out to mailboxes from that date onward.
If you want to know more about the postal survey, then you can check out our explainer below.