It was designed to gauge the opinions of residents in the Macarthur region.
However, one Victorian lobby group and its members have hijacked a recent Advertiser poll.
The poll asked readers to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on whether they agreed same-sex marriage should be legalised, in an effort to gauge local opinion.
As of Tuesday afternoon – a week after the poll was created – there were three yes votes to every no response.
However, the results of the poll looked very different after The Australian Family Association – an anti-same-sex marriage lobby group based in Victoria – implored its mailing list members to vote ‘no’ on the Advertiser and Illawarra Mercury polls.
“Two newspapers are currently conducting seperate (sic) polls on support for same-sex "marriage",” the email signed off by national president Paul Monagle, and sent out in the early hours Friday, August 11, read.
“It is important to show there is widespread opposition to redefining marriage.
“Please click on the link here and here to vote NO to same-sex "marriage" in both of these polls.”
Since the call out the results of the poll have shifted significantly with 89 per cent of respondents voting no.
Analysis of those respondents also show people from as far away as America have cast their vote.
Macarthur MP Dr Michael Freelander (Labor) has been a vocal supporter of legalising same-sex marriage.
He previously said he feared anti-same-sex marriage groups would wage damaging campaigns in the lead up to a plebiscite.
The Australian Family Association’s intentions to skew the views of Macarthur residents confirmed those fears.
“It’s extremely disappointing but it’s what I expected,” he said.
Asked whether he had any words of advice or wisdom from the association, Dr Freelander said “I don’t have any words of wisdom, but if I did they wouldn’t be wasted on them”.
A voluntary and non-binding postal plebiscite will be conducted on September 12 after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull refused to allow a free vote.
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