Completing a mail based 'survey' is certainly an unconventional method for policy makers to delegate key decisions to the public, making the Australian governments decision to do so in order to give them an inkling as to whether same sex marriage should be allowed, a bit of a head turner.
The nature of this decision-making process will be a non-binding one, meaning if the poll shows the country to be largely in support of allowing same sex marriage, the Australian government will be under no obligation to implement the notion.
Malcolm Turnbull, Australian Prime Minister, is hopeful that votes cast will generally be 'yes' to same sex marriage, in order to force a vote in Parliament.
The Senate has recently staved off attempts to call for a referendum on the issue, and therefore the Australian government has announced that a 'survey' will take place instead.
There are issues withstanding with this action taken, with critics suggesting that the government have acted beyond their constitutional jurisdiction in doing so, lawyer Jonathon Hunyor had been working with marriage equality advocates Shelley Argent and Felicity Marlowe and independent legislator Andrew Wilkie, and stated that "We will be arguing that by going ahead without the authorization of parliament, the government is acting beyond its power."
It may seem odd that marriage equality advocates challenged the notion, but there were criticisms that Parliament would be able to pass through a vote on the issue much more quickly and efficiently and therefore more action must be taken to force a vote in Parliament. There was also concern over potential hate filled campaigns being launched as a result of the vote.
The high court eventually dismissed the objections last month, relieving Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull from potentially having to return to the drawing board.
Early forecasts have suggested that the vote is likely to show overwhelmingly in favour of marriage equality, which the Prime Minister hopes will encourage the Legislature to hold a vote on the issue.
With the 'survey' being a fairly unique form of public participation in politics, it urges the question as to whether it is set to become a new method used by governments around the world.
The Brexit referendum result proved to be controversial as a result of its non binding nature, and perhaps with the survey method being openly non binding, unlike the referendum, using this method could be seen as a more easy and efficient way to gauge public opinion by governments, as they are under no obligation to implement the notion as a result of the outcome.
The survey method was also deemed to not go against the Australian Constitution, meaning this is likely to be acceptable in other countries also.
Ballots have already begun to be sent out to the Australian electorate, and votes must be cast by the 7th of November, with the results expected to be announced on the 15th of November.
Voting is usually compulsory in Australia, but due to the unique nature of this vote, it has been made voluntary.