Submission to Inquiry into Arrangements for the Postal Survey Alternative formats available on request to PIAC - Contact PIAC
PIAC’s submission, which was endorsed by Community Legal Centres NSW, raised several concerns about the same-sex marriage law postal survey held by the Commonwealth Government in late 2017.
This included that the exercise was unnecessary and expensive, and that it was hurtful and divisive, especially for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community. The postal survey also circumvented the role of the Parliament, particularly given the Senate’s prior rejection of a plebiscite, and risked undermining confidence in the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
PIAC agreed with the assessment of the United Nations Human Rights Committee that it was ‘not an acceptable decision-making method’ to determine an issue of human rights, and recommended that it not be used again such issues.
PIAC welcomed the inclusion of anti-vilification measures in the Safeguards Act which accompanied the postal survey, and recommended that the prohibition of vilification on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics should be made permanent.
However, if the Parliament acts on this recommendation, shortcomings of the Safeguards Act should also be addressed, including expanding who can bring actions, increasing the limitation period for initiating actions to at least 6 months, and removing the involvement in the Attorney-General in determining whether actions should proceed.