Processing your form
Survey responses will be progressively processed during the collection period, and results will be released on 15 November 2017.
Measures are in place to ensure the secrecy of each survey response and the integrity of the process. These measures will detect any attempted multiple responses associated with an individual eligible Australian with only the last valid response counted.
There may be penalties for providing false or misleading information to the ABS.
Release of results
The Australian Statistician will publish the results of the survey on the ABS website on 15 November 2017.
The official statistics will include a count of responses (Yes, No and Response Not Clear) by Commonwealth Electoral Division (CED), State/Territory and National. This will also include a count of eligible Australians who have not participated.
Information from the Commonwealth Electoral Roll will be used independently to produce a participation rate by age and gender for each CED, State/Territory and National.
Participation will be published for each CED, by gender, for each of the following age groups: 18-19 years, 20-24 years, 25-29 years, 30-34 years, 35-39 years, 40-44 years, 45-49 years, 50-54 years, 55-59 years, 60-64 years, 65-69 years, 70-74 years, 75-79 years, 80-84 years, and 85+ years.
The participation characteristics will not be available for Silent Electors and some other participants where Electoral Information is not complete. These will be reported as "age unavailable" or "gender unavailable".
The answer to the survey question is anonymous – the ABS will not be able to provide a count of Yes, No and Response Not Clear by age or gender.
Destruction of survey materials
The completed survey material and envelopes will be securely destroyed within 60 days of the publication of the results.
If you receive survey materials and do not want to participate, please destroy your survey materials.
Assurance, integrity and quality
The Australian Statistician will ensure that statistical information is collected with a high level of transparency and integrity to provide assurance in the accuracy of the data. The Statistician will publish a statement on the quality and integrity of the survey with the results on 15 November 2017.
The ABS has in place robust systems and controls for the processing, interpreting and publishing of statistical data. The ABS will use these systems and controls in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.
The survey assurance process will include external observers. Commonwealth Parliamentarians will nominate external observers by mid-September. These individuals will be able to observe the process of recognising marks on a sample of survey forms as yes, no or invalid responses.
The ABS will also engage an independent assurer to monitor a number of processes such as the dispatch of survey forms, and receipt and destruction of forms.
Given the strong public interest in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, the ABS will provide weekly estimates of the total number of survey forms received by the ABS. Updates will be provided from 3 October through to 7 November. The updates will be published before 5pm (AEDT) on the News Alerts page.
Why is ABS providing the estimate?
- There is strong public interest in the survey's progress. ABS considers that weekly estimates of the total number of survey forms received, at the National level only, will help promote awareness of the survey and may encourage participation by those who have not yet responded. It will also inform reasonable public expectations about the likely final level of response.
Why is it an estimate?
- Final participation will be available when all processing is complete and will be released on 15 November.
What is the estimate based on?
- The primary input to the estimate is Australia Post’s assessment of the number of containers of sorted envelopes rather than counts of individual forms. ABS then applies some adjustments based on factors like responses received through other channels and an allowance for forms that are damaged, invalid (ie barcode removed, copied/fraudulent), and invalidated (ie cancelled by ABS when new forms issued).
How accurate is the estimate?
- The estimate is indicative only.
Why not provide an estimate on a more frequent basis?
- ABS Considers that a weekly release is useful to meet public needs. More frequent updates would divert resources better applied to survey processing.
Will ABS provide a breakdown of participation by State or Electorate?
- No. The estimation method and the anonymous return envelopes means the ABS can't provide any breakdown.
Will ABS provide a count of forms processed (as opposed to envelopes received) at any point?
- No. While processing will be done continuously from late September, there will be a backlog of forms awaiting processing so a count of forms processed will not be a useful indicator of response.
When will the participation rate be announced?
- When the statistics are released on 15 November.