An eBay listing advertising a vote in the postal survey on marriage equality has been taken down due to its very predictable illegality.
The NSW-based eBay user listed their vote for $1500, saying that the proceeds would go to a children’s cancer charity, The West Australian reported.
“Part of this auction proceeds will go to help kids battling cancer.”
The Australian Bureau of Statistics will start mailing out ballot forms as of next week after the High Court dismissed two legal challenges to the government’s ability to carry it out.
The ABS says that attempts to sell a ballot paper would likely contravene the Census and Statistics Act 1905 or the Commonwealth Criminal Code and could incur a $2100 fine or 12 months in prison.
“The ABS has proactively contacted several online marketplaces including eBay, Facebook, Amazon, Alibaba, Gumtree,” the ABS statement read.
“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.”
Senator Nick Xenophon, who supports the Yes campaign, said the incident raised the issue of a lack of regulation surrounding the postal survey and showed the need for urgent legislation.
“That to me needs to be proscribed by legislation,” he said.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann will work with Labor in the coming days to draft legislation that would ensure that campaign material is authorised and that there is balance in any ads that are broadcast.
Cormann said that if consensus is reached the legislation could pass next week, though the Government doesn’t want to overly restrict freedom of expression.
“We want the process to be fair to both sides of the argument,” he said.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten believes that standard election campaign provisions should apply to the postal survey campaigns.
“I want to see, for example, proper authorisations so that we know who is actually saying what,” he said.
eBay is one of several large corporations which in May showed their support for marriage equality in a public campaign.