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Same-sex marriage poll finds 70% in favour

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Support for same-sex marriage remains at 70 per cent, unchanged from a poll a year earlier.

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A new Fairfax/Ipsos poll suggests some 65 per cent of those surveyed are “certain” to complete the postal survey, and of those seven out of 10 will tick “yes” in favour of marriage equality.

Some 1400 voters were surveyed between Wednesday and Saturday last week for the poll.

Survey forms asking Australians whether they support same-sex marriage are being posted from today.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is aiming to get the forms out to 16 million voters by September 25.

The form asks a simple question, “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry”, followed by yes and no boxes to be marked.

The ABS will close receipt of forms at 6pm on November 7 and announce the result at 11.30am on November 15.

However, the bureau is encouraging forms to be sent in by October 27.

Requests for replacement materials, if a problem occurs, will only be accepted between September 25 and 6pm October 20.

As proponents of the yes and no case ramp up their campaigns, Labor and the Coalition are working on laws to ensure campaign materials do not include hate speech and all materials are properly authorised, as they are during elections.

The Coalition joint party room today is understood to have endorsed a bill which would ensure all campaign material is authorised and the courts could deal with complaints of vilification.

The Labor caucus did not see the final text of the bill, which is expected to clear parliament by the end of the week, but gave in-principle support as negotiations with the government continue.

Labor’s leadership group has been given the power to approve the final bill, which mirrors the rules which apply during elections.

It is understood criminal and civil penalties will apply.

Labor frontbencher Penny Wong told the caucus already “hurtful and inaccurate” things are being said in the campaign.

“This bill won’t protect against all of the hate speech we already see – it will provide some limited protection, but the real leadership has to come from the parliament and the government,” she said.

“They need to stand up and speak out against those who engage in hate speech.”

The protections will only cover the period of the survey and won’t be retrospective.

One Labor MP voiced fears survey forms could be rorted in remote areas of Australia where mail is collected and dropped off at only one point in a community.

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus told reporters after the meeting the government appeared to be prepared to include anti-vilification provisions.

“We’re just working through the final detail on them now,” he said.

– AAP

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