Jail time, hefty fines for selling same-sex marriage vote
POSTAL votes for the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey have started arriving in people's letter boxes, and before they even landed, people were trying to make a quick buck from them online.
One intrpeid Sydneysider tried to sell their vote on ebay with the starting price of $1500. The item, Buy my Vote, had the item description: "What is this plebiscite worth to you".
"The reason I'm selling my vote is because either way I don't care, but thought there are people who do," the eBay seller stated.
The seller promised part of the proceeds of the auction would go to charity.
Warnings have been issued to the eBay seller - they face possible jail time or a $2000 fine.
One Gumtree seller offered to sell two 'yes' votes for $1500.
The ad has since been removed.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics, which is conducting the survey, issued a statement saying it considers any submission of a survey response that's been bought or sold a criminal offence.
"The offence against the Census and Statistics Act 1905 carries a maximum penalty of $2,100. The Criminal Code offence carries a maximum penalty of 12 months imprisonment," a spokesman said.
The ABS has contacted several online marketplaces including eBay, Facebook, Amazon, Alibaba, and Gumtree.
"To date eBay and Facebook have confirmed listing survey forms or survey responses for sale would not comply with their policies and they will block and remove any such listings," the spokesman said.
Deputy statistician for the ABS, Jonathan Palmer, told a Senate inquiry on Friday the ABS doesn't have a policy on how to deal with such acts, and he had asked for some cases to be referred to Australian federal police (AFP).
It's not clear whether selling a vote in the postal survey is a criminal offence.