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Politicians Are About To Get A Lot Of Faxes About Same-Sex Marriage

Yes, faxes.

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In an email to supporters this week, Australia's Equality Campaign said it had some new tactics up its sleeve for spruiking same-sex marriage to politicians.

"Over the next few weeks, we'll be in touch with simple, powerful ways you can motivate your MP that actually work," wrote director Tiernan Brady.

"Hint: not a bulk email campaign."

What could it be?

You might remember faxing from the 1970s through to the late-'90s. It is a kind of magic that appears to transport pieces of paper from one place to another.

And, as it turns out, the fax is not dead yet when it comes to campaigning tactics.

The Equality Campaign is moving away from bulk emailing – which has been used as a tactic by both sides of the marriage debate in the past – and embracing the humble fax machine as a way to get political attention.

Supporters can now fill in an online form with their story about supporting same-sex marriage, which will then be sent, as a fax, to their local MP.

Punters who haven't faxed since SeaChange was on the telly may be surprised that all MPs have a functioning fax machine in their office. The numbers are publicly displayed along with other contact details on the Australian Parliament House website.

Brady told BuzzFeed News that signing petitions or sending form emails doesn't work.

"What works is when people tell their personal stories," he said. "We wanted to find a mechanism that would allow people to do that. Some electorates are gigantic, not everybody can take time off work to go visit an electorate office."

So... why are personal stories best told by fax?

"We're not saying this is the only facility – whether it's a phone, a visit, a personal letter, or a personal email that will turn into a fax, our MPs have to hear from us," he said.

"It's a little bit old-school, but we have the technology to turn emails into faxes, and we want the fax machines of Canberra whirring away."


Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Lane Sainty at lane.sainty@buzzfeed.com.

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