Olympian Ian Thorpe has urged young people to get their completed forms in the mail by Friday to ensure they’re received by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in time to be counted.
Thorpe said he was optimistic that the marriage survey would return a “yes” result and was pleased with the turnout, but wants more young Australians to have their say.
“We know this is an issue that young people are engaged in, we saw so many of them register to be able to vote on this issue, so we know that we have their support,” he told Sky News.
“What we are really asking for now is that we need their vote. They need to get reacquainted with their local post box and quite simply put the vote in.”
According to a Guardian-Essential poll released this week found that 90% of the group least likely to vote in favour of marriage equality – people over the age of 55 – had voted, compared to the 60% of people in the 18-35 age group who said they had.
“That’s the group of people, under the age of 35, who are most likely to support marriage equality,” Thorpe said.
“We really want to encourage them, and anyone you know who hasn’t got their vote in yet, to get it back by tomorrow.
“It’s no good in the bottom of your gym bag, it’s not a vote at all.”
Thorpe said the divisive postal survey debate had reminded LGBTI people of past incidents of homophobic bullying and violence, but legalising marriage equality would allow young LGBTI people to know that there’s nothing wrong with them.
“If I had known that, if I had felt that way when I was younger I would have been more comfortable with myself, my sexuality, and actually been out a lot earlier,” he said.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said earlier this week that three quarters of survey forms – nearly 12 million votes – had been returned by last Friday.
The ABS has encouraged voters to return their postal survey forms by Friday 27 October, to ensure that they’re received and counted by the cutoff of November 7.
The result will be announced on November 15.