Damien O'Donaghue of Suffolk Park and Javier Encalada of Bangalow at the Frutopia festival at the Lismore Showgrounds on Saturday, September 16, 2017.
Damien O'Donaghue of Suffolk Park and Javier Encalada of Bangalow at the Frutopia festival at the Lismore Showgrounds on Saturday, September 16, 2017. Rob Williams

Same sex marriage postal votes 'sabotaged'

THE same-sex marriage postal vote plebiscite has been labelled an "unfair" "big mess" by Northern Rivers residents who failed to receive their documents in the mail.

The controversial $122m Australian Bureau of Statistics postal vote opened this week, with thousands of botched deliveries reported in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.

Postal votes were destroyed by rain when they were not delivered into mailboxes at seven apartment blocks in the ACT.

Some Byron Bay residents reported on social media this weekend they found their documents strewn across the driveway.

Katrina Greenhalgh, 34, said she found her postal vote papers flung on the driveway instead of her mailbox on Thursday.

Her husband's postal papers were found a few days later under a tree.

 

 

Wolfsong Choir - led by Imogen Wolf at Frutopia festival, Lismore Showgrounds on Saturday, September 16, 2017.
Wolfsong Choir - led by Imogen Wolf at Frutopia festival, Lismore Showgrounds on Saturday, September 16, 2017. Javier Encalada

"Either someone has misdelivered it or someone is walking around and sabotaging the vote by taking letters out of the mail box," Ms Greenhalgh said.

"It's a big mess - why would they deliver envelopes - postage can get lost - it's not going to be a fair survey if there's postal votes getting lost everywhere."

There have also been reports of people illegally selling their votes online, 'yes' and 'no' campaigners offering to fill in forms for others, and survey thefts.

The postal vote disaster has come with increasing social media debate and advertising on the issue - all on the agenda at Frutopia on Saturday.

 

Katrina Greenhalgh and her husband Aiden.
Katrina Greenhalgh and her husband Aiden. Contributed

The Tropical Fruits' annual family fun day at the Lismore Showground became an opportunity for the region's LGBQTI community to "check in" with each other amid the chaos of the plebiscite on same sex marriage.

The Northern Star's entertainment Editor Javier Encalada was at the event, and said the Northern Rivers LGBQTI community to bond while enjoying the dog show, kids games, stalls and live music acts.

 

Yolly dressed up for the dog show at Frutopia festival at the Lismore Showgrounds on Saturday, September 16, 2017.
Yolly dressed up for the dog show at Frutopia festival at the Lismore Showgrounds on Saturday, September 16, 2017. Javier Encalada

"This was a great day for the community to meet each other and to make sure that we're all okay, and to support each other," Mr Encalada said.

"It reminds me of the biological family relationships that we have in our lives, and the other family that we have in our community - and that we're definitely not alone.

"And that's the reason why we're fighting this fight."

Residents who wish to request a new form must request is online at the ABS website by 6pm on October 18, 2017.

Australian Bureau of Statistics: http://www.abs.gov.au

 

Frutopia festival at the Lismore Showgrounds on  Saturday, September 16, 2017.
Frutopia festival at the Lismore Showgrounds on Saturday, September 16, 2017. Javier Encalada

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