The ABS has contacted several online marketplaces including eBay, Facebook and Amazon to block future votes for sale.
The ABS has contacted several online marketplaces including eBay, Facebook and Amazon to block future votes for sale. Contributed

Possible jail time over selling plebiscite vote

THE Australian Bureau of Statistics is warning people who seek to pass on their postal votes for the same-sex marriage survey could face jail time.

The caution comes as a Sydney eBay user has attempted to hawk his vote for at least $1500.   The listing, titled "buy my vote", asks bidders: "What is the 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 user writes in the product description.  

The seller assures part of the auction proceeds will go to "help kids battling cancer", but the charitable act has hit a snag.  

The agency in charge of the vote, the ABS, has warned that a response that has been bought or sold "would likely an offence against the Census and Statistics Act 1905 or the Commonwealth Criminal Code".  

The ABS said the offence against the Census and Statistics Acts could carry a maximum penalty of $2100, while a potential criminal offence could see offenders jailed for up to 12 months.  

The agency also said it had contacted several sites about the possibility of people selling their ballots, and eBay and Facebook had confirmed any votes for sale would be blocked and removed from their sites.  

With some details of the ballot yet to be released, it is not yet known if voters will have to prove their identity or sign a declaration as they lodge their vote.  

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will start mailing out forms for the postal ballot on Tuesday, after the High Court dismissed a challenge to the eight-week national survey.

News Corp Australia

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