AUSTRALIA: Marriage Plebiscite May Backfire On Right Wing As Millennials Swarm To Vote For Their First Time

The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

A last-minute surge has seen a record number of Australians enrolled to vote ahead of the upcoming postal survey on same-sex marriage. The Australian Electoral Commission on Friday released figures it described as “extraordinary” that show 90,000 new voters – mostly the young – had joined the roll since the survey was announced on August 8.

The development delighted same-sex marriage advocates but alarmed nervous Coalition MPs, who believe the enlarged youth vote will come back to bite them at the next election. A further 675,000 people had updated their electoral details, and 165,000 transactions were yet to be processed as of Thursday night, the AEC said. In total, almost 1 million Australians had either enrolled for the first time or updated their details.

Same-sex marriage advocates were elated at the news on Friday, following a two-week recruitment drive to ensure young, progressive Australians were correctly enrolled to vote. While the massive rise in new voters has buoyed the “yes” campaign, it has disturbed some Liberals who fear the government has shot itself in the foot by fostering a process that has encouraged young, progressive voters to enrol.

VIDEO: You will definitely enjoy the below satire.

  • Gustav2

    Heh, serves you right!

  • Todd20036

    The kids are all right (not alt-right)

  • Jonathan Smith
  • Anastasia Beaverhousen

    I love the kids. “I was born too soon, and started too late.”

  • another_steve

    Mobilizing young voters needs to be a priority here in the states as well.

    I’m sure there are some young people who vote Republican – but they are certifiably insane and lost to the world of reason anyway.

    • Dubito et cogitare

      Kinda like gay Republicans.

      • another_steve

        Or trans Republicans.

        Hiya Caitlyn honey… got ya “Make America Great Again” hat on today, sweetie?

        • Snarkaholic

          The Jenner Jerk, busily inching down on a jewel-encrusted traffic cone, could not be reached for comment.

          • another_steve
          • TheManicMechanic

            That photo screams, “If you don’t like my hat, suck my dick.”

          • Snarkaholic

            Too bad they cropped out the front bumper…I wanted to count the number of face-shaped dents in it.

          • Philly Mike

            Just this week I saw a “Make America Great Again” bumper sticker on a KIA I am sure the irony totally escapes this Nazi.

          • Hanwi

            That disturbing on so many levels….I need brain bleach stat!!

          • Sylviabsalter

            Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family!!!
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          • JamieFGarza


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          • customartist

            To have EVERY potential in life and turn out like that disgusting turd.

      • Derrick Johns

        You mean like the ones who come off the college football field. Well, maybe for a half an hour…or 20 minutes Not more than one at a time.

  • FAEN

    I certainly hope it works.

  • Jay Mills

    Millennials, here’s your chance to prove that everyone is wrong about you.

  • Jim Maloney

    They’re nervous young people are voting and what that may mean to them. It means a lot of their beliefs are outdated and past expiration. Now they can see that in real life,

  • Ninja0980

    Needs to be done here at home as well, along with the understanding that things don’t happen overnight and that the only way to continue to have progressive laws put into place is to keep voting.

    • Vista-Cruiser

      In the US, young people are too busy using their smart phones and watching reality television to actually go out and vote.

  • Ben in Oakland

    Karma can be such a bitch. They should have learned from Irelands vote a few years ago. But wait!!! They’re conservatives and believe that everyone shares their prejudices.
    So, of course they didn’t learn. That might be seen as progressive.

    • My wife and I housesit nearly every year in Australia. It’s one of my favourite countries – people are so welcoming. Turnbull does not represent the ‘true’ Australia.

      • Ben in Oakland

        I am sure you are correct. Turn like milk turns and bull like bull shit.

  • Jonathan Smith
  • Dreaming Vertebrate

    Awesome Aussies vote for Equality!
    Awesome Aussies vote YES!!

    • Dreaming Vertebrate

      And the corollary, …
      > Awful Aussies vote for Bigotry
      > Awful Aussies vote No.

  • Snarky

    That video is awesome! Thanks for sharing it, Joe.

    • Reality.Bites

      I *LOVED* the guy dropping the stamp inside the envelope

  • Harveyrabbit

    And in other news the Australian ruling conservative party has just announced they’ve raised the voting age to 45.

    • narutomania


      Oh, please don’t give them any new ideas.

      • Reality.Bites

        It’s always safe to give an Australian Liberal Party politician a new idea. He won’t have a clue what to do with it. And yes, he’ll be a he, and proud of it.

  • Treant

    Be afraid. Be very afraid. Because some of them aren’t going to lose the habit of voting.

    • Reality.Bites

      What I don’t understand, and I’m hoping someone will come around and explain, is that I was under the impression Australia has compulsory voting. I understand that this “plebbyshite” isn”t compulsory, but I’d have thought registration was compulsory or automatic and the issue would be persuading people to vote, not to register.

      • Treant

        I dunno, actually!

        • Jonathan from Australia

          Registration isn’t automatic and you are supposed to register but it doesn’t mean that (especially young) people do. We are also between elections so people put it off until the next election and then rush to register.

          • Treant

            And how would you know that, Mr. “Jonathan from Australia.”

            Oh. I see. Carry on then. πŸ™‚

            But seriously, thanks! We’re optional, and many don’t because they think they’ll get jury duty if they do (they don’t, we use our SS# for that).

          • Reality.Bites

            Interesting. Our registration is semi-automatic, I’d say. You can quite easily get registered without your knowing. In urban areas landlords give lists of tenants to enumerators. In rural areas they may do it on the basis of personal knowledge (Young Jonathan just turned 18). And there’s a box on your tax return you can check off. Or just show up with valid ID. But there’s no requirement to register or to vote.

  • AtticusP

    That is because more and more of the younger generation are breaking free from the religious brainwashing that they endured, as their ancestors did before them.

    • customartist

      Join your local FFRF or American Atheists

  • bambinoitaliano
  • justme

    Hey America
    You going to let Australian

    Swarm To Vote and out do you!!

  • Ninja0980
    • another_steve

      It’s pretty obvious by now that having Democratically-controlled State houses and governorships needs to be the #1 priority.

      No civil rights progress will be made at the state level unless Democrats are in control.

      • Ninja0980

        Yup, and that includes here in NY where Republicans have ensured statewide protections for trans people or bans on conversion therapy won’t happen as long as they control the State Senate.

        • another_steve

          There’s a distressing trend here in Maryland. After eight years of Democrat Martin O’Malley (remember him?) as Governor, voters voted in a Republican to replace him in 2015. Not a theofascist Republican, but a Republican who by membership in his hate party gives aid and comfort and support to its many theofascists.

          Also, one of Maryland’s most progressive counties – Howard County – now has a Republican County Executive.

          The trend concerns me.

      • customartist

        Register to vote.
        Attend your local Democratic Party meetings. Don’t be intimidated. Just do it.

      • (((GC)))

        “But both parties are the s—” – good thing nobody’s arguing that anymore here!

        • another_steve

          The Bernie Sanders supporters who proffered that equivalency have surely learned their lesson.

    • Todd20036

      I live in DC, and I do not take for granted the fact that I live in a gay oasis.

      • Jerry Kott

        And we live in Pennsylvania and we captured on video last Sunday of our neighbor where it appears he is trying to ram our car from the side as we leave our property. A very different Universe.

        • (((GC)))

          Pennsyltucky. Most of the state is NOT like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

          • Jerry Kott

            It is sad but I agree with you. We occupy a beautiful property surrounded by some of the ugliest ignorant people I never imagine existed. Real scum of the Earth

    • Joe in Wyo

      I do live here in Wyo. While it is an extremely red state there are some positive things here. We had a teacher in our town who was gay and out. A woman, christian of course, was all up in arms about it quite a number of years ago. She tried to get him fired but the town and the school board shut her down very quickly. He went on teaching, retired a few years ago and everybody loved him. We have a ways to go here but we’re working on it. And that is despite Enzi’s tutu comment. Our Wyoming Equality board is very energized and we are hopeful that we can make some few, small steps in the future in this trumpish hell-hole.

      • Ninja0980

        Indeed and for all the problems Wyoming has, it should be noted they never passed a same sex marriage ban.
        That is one positive sign that things can work out right there.

      • jo gerardo

        First state to give women voting rights, 1869!
        Home state of Jess Harper and Slim Sherman, the original gay caballeros (in my teen dreams)!

  • JoeMyGod

    90,000 may not seem like a lot of new voters by US standards, but considering Australia’s population it’s as if we had 1.2 million new voters here.

    • JackFknTwist

      True. I am really buoyed up by this post.Up to now I was very pessimistic about this “non binding postal vote” in Australia.
      But this post suggests something similar as happened in the Irish Referendum on Marriage Equality.

      In Ireland over 50,000 young people returned to Ireland to vote and queues formed for new young voter Registration. That was an astonishing number !
      If the young people of Australia are now energised it is another step in the whole phenomenon of the awakening on the voter power of the young.
      What a pity the young British stayed away from the Brexit Referendum, they were sold down the river by the old generation.

      wake up millenials, you have the power if you want it !

      • Strepsi

        Agree totally – I met a large group of young Australians on vacation last year and they were all apologetically EMBARASSED about their country and equality. They know how bad it looks internationally, and all of them want it.

        Ireland really underwent a massive transformation, where it basically finished the post-troubles process of throwing off the country’s control by the church to become a modern democracy. I hope Australia (which has virulent Catholic and Evangelical strains) does the same.

        2016 is he the year Millennials overtook Boomers as the largest demographic. They do have that power if they want it!

        • JackFknTwist

          Yes they. but as you it is “if they want it” , or realise it.
          I hope they will now see just how powerful they can be !

  • JWC

    good for them

  • JohnMyroro

    Since Australia has mandatory voting, shouldn’t all these “new” voters have been registered already? Isn’t registration required when you are old enough to vote?

    • -M-

      It’s not even a real plebiscite. Just a big ‘mail in your vote if you want to’ opinion poll.

    • Yes, voting at elections and referenda is compulsory, though in practice that means that you must attend a polling place on the day and have the Poll Clerk there mark your attendance on the Electoral Roll and issue you with your (blank) ballot papers, which you mark with your preference, fold, and put in the ballot box(es). If the Electoral Commission’s records show you didn’t attend, then you will be fined for having failed to vote; but as voting is secret there is no way for the Commission to determine whether you actually marked up the papers to show your preference or not — in other words, whether you actually did cast a valid vote.

      As for enrolling: yes, every Oz citizen aged 18 or over is obliged to enrol to vote — and once you are enrolled you remain so for the rest of your life — but enrollment isn’t automatic on one’s 18th birthday, one actually has to take the trouble to get oneself enrolled (and thereafter to keep one’s details up-to-date). Which may sound dreadfully bureaucratic: but who would want to live in a country where the Government keeps such a detailed watch on its citizens that they know when the date of everyone’s next birthday is?

  • Ken M

    Now if we can do this in America, both parties might actually start doing things and thinking of the future.

  • barrixines

    The cute young things in the photo there are Bindi Irwin (the late Steve Irwin’s daughter) and Luke her gay BFF.

    • Adam King

      Bindi Irwin’s kind of an awesome person.

  • Ken M

    She did say f*cking twice…didn’t she? : )

  • Hank
    • jerry

      Using that language, does Australia not have a version of OMM? If not, we can send them both of ours.

  • BNN

    This helps but the anti-marriage equality have much a more powerful medium.

    They could relay memo to churches to vote against marriage equality in the millions.

    • barrixines

      They could indeed but a majority of Australian Christians support marriage equality.

      • Reality.Bites

        And on the whole, are a much smaller proportion of the population than in the US.

      • BNN

        The Christians who are anti-gay are more avid against equality so they’d actually go out of their way to vote.
        Those Christians who supported marriage equality are more of an indifference support. They are okay with same sex marriage but rarely take the time to vote.
        I hope the plebiscite succeed.

        • barrixines

          Hopefully these young first time voters will be fired up and keen to get out and make a difference.

  • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

    Refreshing to see that Australian millennials may vote in high numbers. Would be nice if North American millennials followed their example.

  • Claude Jacques Bonhomme
    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      While I fully support the concept, the sad reality is, this only works in countries that will accept the designation. Like it or not, having a gender-neutral designation doesn’t mean anything if the country you’re traveling to doesn’t allow it. Again, great idea, but limiting regarding travel destinations. Remember, passports are not a guarantee of entry. Before traveling, make sure your destination accepts gender-neutral status or you could be denied entry.

      • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

        Fully agreed. This designation would mean trouble in many areas of the world. As a gay man, there are areas of the world I wouldn’t contemplate visiting… and more so if I were totally identified trans.

        • Jean-Marc in Canada

          Actually, many westernized nations don’t/won’t recognize the designation. Among them, Japan, Australia, Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Hungary, Czech Republic and Romania.

  • Cuberly

    OT: This weekend is setting up to be a doozy.

  • Hank
    • NowAnAgnostic

      Thanks. A very interesting article.

  • Reality.Bites
  • SoCalGal20

    Ha! That video is awesome. Wish we could get some great honest political ads like that here.

  • TampaZeke

    Nothing seems to piss off conservatives more than too many people voting.

  • SoCalGal20

    OT but Harvey is now Cat 3 with 120 mph winds. Stay safe, Texas JMGers!

    • kareemachan


    • JCF

      Last I heard, Cat 4!

  • TheManicMechanic

    It was already entertaining enough to hear Strayans say “plebbysoit,” but this video made it even bettah.

  • Lars Littlefield

    Other Topical Good News:

    Just read in the The Guardian that locals are responding to the upcoming White Supremacist/Alt Right “peace” demonstration in Crissy Park by taking their dogs to the park, letting them poop all over and then leaving if for the demonstrators to step in. People all over the city are even bringing their saved pet poop and carting it over to dispense in the park. The idea is let the Alt Righters demonstrate to their hearts’ desire — in poop. The next day volunteers plan to return to the park, pick up all of the poop and have a hug in. Isn’t that nice? Read about it hear, The Turd Reich.

    • Tor

      One of my friends is a city parks gardener, and complains about people in the “better” neighborhoods that let their dogs freely poop and leave it for him to clean up. Someone even reported him when he asked her to please clean up after her pet.
      This, however, is on federal land, so our hard-working city gardeners don’t have to be involved, and I’m glad to hear the fine citizens of SF will clean up the next day.

      • Lars Littlefield

        Well, they SAY they plan to clean it up.It’s a brilliant idea. I hope it works.

        • Tor

          You know people so well…..

    • zhera


  • TampaZeke

    Putin probably has a direct line to Turnbull to fuck this up too.

  • Jeffrey

    Excuse me, I do not know who Luke Reavely is but that is a damn fine cub

    • Moebym of the Returners

      He’s a personal assistant to the Irwins – you know, Steve Irwin, the Croc Hunter – and a zookeeper. Bindi is rumored to be dating him.

  • fuzzybits
  • Moebym of the Returners

    Hey, it’s Bindi Irwin! I hope she has a decent amount of influence over her fellow millennial Australians.

  • Lazycrockett
  • SoCalGal20
  • Michael R
  • Gigi

    The worst thing is it’s “non-binding,” which means even if the overwhelming majority of Australian voters say yes to SSM, their dick of a PM could cave to the christians and reject the outcome.

    • Of course — and if the result is that even a tiny, tiny minority say no, the result will then become totally binding, and Turnbull and his gang will work to legislate to write that “no” into law. Forever.

      • KnownDonorDad

        How susceptible are Australian politicians to shame?

        • No politician is susceptible to shame, mate.

  • abqdan

    Ooooh noooo – We didn’t want people to vote!

  • shrumpi

    Is that Bindi Irwin? She is so sweet!



    • JCF

      It is.

    • KnownDonorDad

      She is awesome – carrying on her dad’s legacy and upholding honorable ideals.

  • Lane

    Wait — I thought voting was compulsory in Australia. So how could there be folks who aren’t enrolled? Have I been mislead?

    • Stuart Wyman-Cahall

      That’s EXACTLY what I was thinking! I’ve got family there. So I used the google machine and came up with this.
      If they fail to vote in at least four elections, they can lose the right to vote for 10 years. … Compulsory voting for national elections was introduced in Australia in 1924, following a pronounced fall in turnout at the 1922 federal election.

      • Google appears to have mis-led you. “Off the Roll for 10 years for 4-times failing to vote” is an idea that Johnny Howard proposed quite a long time ago — about the same time he banned SSM — but it went up like a lead balloon. Certainly the AEC’s website makes no mention of it now, and the only penalty for failing to vote that it does mention is a $20 fine.

        Yes, voting in Commonwealth elections, by-elections and referenda has indeed been compulsory since 1924; but enrolling to vote was made compulsory in 1912.

        • Stuart Wyman-Cahall

          Thank you. I didn’t google down far enough. But that’s besides the point. Doesn’t knowing that voting in Australia is compulsory make this article appear bogus?

    • Because enrolment doesn’t just happen automatically when one turns 18, no matter what your parents said when they congratulated you at your birthday party. One has to formally enrol, which involves sending forms (either on paper or on-line) to the Australian Electoral Commission proving one’s identity and entitlement to vote — but once they have been accepted and one has been enrolled one remains on the Electoral Roll for life.

      One is still, however, obliged to update one’s details, most importantly one’s current address, up-to-date; and failure to do that is by the chief reason for people turning up at the polling booth to discover they have vanished from the Roll. On the other hand, a friend was in that position a couple of elections ago and was allowed to cast an absentee vote for his former electorate, though with a stern warning not to try it again.

      Here it is, from the horse’s mouth: Check the FAQ too.

  • KM

    I’m literally teary – this is the best political news in eight months plus. God bless the millennials!

  • andrew

    Australia should look to Eire for inspiration.

  • SDG

    And now for some potentially GOOD news…!!!

  • Sylviabsalter

    Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family!!!
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
    ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash108MediaRed/GetPay$97/Hour β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…:::::!yz108z..,…..

  • Jacob

    That’s wonderful but it represents a little less than one fifth of the estimated unregistered 18 to 24 year olds. I hope it’s enough. Historically this is the kind of thing that drives the haters to the polls.

  • β€» Benny Cemoli βœ”Gold Verified

    So let me get this straight (so to speak). This is a non-binding, non-compulsory mail in postal survey. Where I assume if it comes out that the majority support marriage equality for gays then the current ruling party can just ignore it as it is non-binding on the government. But on the other hand, if it turns out that the majority says no to same sex marriage then it’s the will of the people and must be acknowledged.

    So in other words, no matter how this “plebbyshite” turns out concerning same sex marriage gay people are not going to win.

  • Now for a beautiful woman.

  • I’m an American citizen that moved to Perth, Western Australia, in early 1970s, from London, and returned to USA in 1976, 41 years ago. I soon met and fell in love at first sight with my husband.

    In 2003, we traveled to Canada, when Ontario, Canada, chose to become the first place on Earth that would legally marry American couples born like us.

    This year, we’re 70. We would have loved to visit Australia, where some new and longtime friends live. But were we to step off a plane there, we would become instantly divorced, because the legality of our marriage is not respected in Australia.

    Traveling to such heterosex-supremacist countries is simply too risky (at any age) for us to willingly volunteer to forfeit the vital (and hard-won) protections that are granted solely by legal marriage.

  • Peter Hiv

    It’s not even a plebiscite and therefore doesn’t fulfill the much vaunted reason to have one by the gov before voting on it. It’s non-binding and non-compulsory (voting in Australia is normally compulsory or you get fined). Australia Post is also well known here as being hopeless, honestly we’ve had times when the postman can’t find our address or delivers someone else’s mail to our letterbox. Regularly.

    Ultimately the gov is putting our human rights in a poll they’ve designed to fail and in the hands of Australia Post. There has been much anger about this in the LGBT community here, organisations of such which have launched a high court challenge to the survey (to be heard Sept 6-7). The lunatic hate has already been unleashed only because PM Turnbull hasn’t the balls to call a free conscience vote for his party (as PM Howard did 5 times in 11 years of his gov) where the parliamentary numbers are there for it to pass.

    The opposition Labor Party has already said they’ll pass marriage equality soon after if they’re elected to gov at the next election, even if the rigged survey comes up “no”. Which may be next year speculatively. Labor is kilometres ahead in the poles and unlikely to lose at this point.

    Many LGBT have been torn at how to respond to this survey. We’re just so outraged and hurt that this gov would release the hounds of homophobc hell on us in the public sphere for no good reason, other than to save Turnbull’s political ass. I myself swore I would publicly burn the ballot paper insult if it ever got past the high court, and post said burning on my blog.

    However the last few days I’ve been feeling encouraged. Not that I give any credence to such an unscientific survey designed to fail, but it’s starting to look like fellow Australians have our back, even if our gov doesn’t. The extremely high enrollment by young people is encouraging. The general societal angst against the supper lobby group Australian Christan Lobby (which has all of 11 employees BTW) is encouraging.

    I’m almost thinking of voting now, just to be a part of mainstream Australia metaphorically sticking their postal survey right up their ass.