Australia’s marriage equality campaign has started sending text messages to voters urging a Yes vote, and not everyone is happy about it.
People have jumped on the Australian Marriage Equality’s Facebook page to complain and left feedback on Twitter, with even Yes voters complaining the messages were a breach of privacy and some threatening to report the messages to authorities.
The messages read: “The Marriage Equality Survey forms have arrived! Help make history and vote YES for a fairer Australia. VoteYes.org.au.” They have been arriving on people’s phones through the weekend, with the survey forms having been mailed out to millions of registered voters over the past fortnight.
Here’s a selection of some of the negative comments the Yes campaign has been getting.
Dear @AMEquality the text messages were a really bad call. You guys are completely awesome. But even my Yes vote friends are annoyed.
— OfScott (@cathythemum) September 23, 2017
@AMEquality I had no problems with your campaign, until you sent me an unsolicited text message. Please explain how you got my phone number.
— Danielle Ward (@careerplannerau) September 23, 2017
@AMEquality how are you not violating our right to privacy by sending text messages? I'll vote yes anyway. Hope it doesn't backfire.
— L Ben (@LBen1) September 23, 2017
Not everyone is complaining — some welcomed the encouragement.
Some users received their messages in the middle of the night.
@AMEquality I voted yes, huge supporter. Probably didn't need a text at 1am asking me to though. You need a mobile comms strategy xx
— William Martin (@willdbmartin) September 23, 2017
SMS campaign messages are a relatively new phenomenon in Australian politics. In last year’s federal election campaign, voters around Australian received messages claiming to be from “Medicare”, which claimed that time was “running out to Save Medicare”.
The campaign was funded by unions and sparked a police investigation, which was later dropped. The federal government later moved to make it a criminal offence to impersonate a Commonwealth authority.
According to a report in Fairfax Media, the marriage equality campaign says messages are being sent to randomly generated mobile numbers.
Alex Greenwich from the Equality Campaign told Fairfax:
The campaign is using every resource available to make sure fairness and equality are achieved for all Australians.
The campaign has a responsibility to encourage every Australian to post their survey and we have done this through doorknocking, media, advertising, social media and SMS messaging.
It’s so important to reach as many Australians as possible and remind them this is a vote about fairness and ensuring every Australian is equal under the law.”
There’s more here.
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