Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) officers plan to visit remote locations to help Indigenous and other people living in remote Australia collect, complete and drop-off survey forms. The 200 communities chosen have a less regular postal service.
The announcement comes after the Northern Territory Police received a recent complaint that a Gunbalanya resident was allegedly filling in several copies of the same-sex marriage survey and marking them ‘no’ rather than delivering them to their intended recipients.
The same complaint was made to local MP Warren Snowdon who has expressed concern about the legitimacy of the survey.
“We’ve only learned in the last day or so that the Bureau of Statistics has only now started to send people out to remote communities to assist people,” the Member for Linguiari told NITV News.
“This is just not good enough. It just shows you how flawed and stupid the process is.”
Mr Snowdon says it's a big issue if people are filling in other people's survey forms without their knowledge.
"Are they receiving people's mail without authority? ... It just shows the issues to do with the survey which were known some time ago about the inadequacy of the process," he stressed.
ABS Deputy Australian Statistician and Taskforce Lead, Jonathan Palmer, said in a statement the ABS was “overcoming challenges posed by distance to provide all Australians, no matter where they live, with every opportunity to participate in the survey”.
“Our officers will assist people who have difficulty receiving or collecting mail, are travelling away from home, or require some help to participate in the survey,” he said.
Details of remote visits, pick-up locations, dates and times are available at www.marriagesurvey.abs.gov.au