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Labor, coalition deal against hate speech

Yes and no campaigners in the same-sex marriage survey could face a fine of up to $12,600 if their material includes hate speech or they engage in bribery.

The government on Tuesday night finalised a deal with Labor to pass protections - to be introduced to the Senate on Wednesday - governing the conduct of the survey campaign.

The bill, expected to pass parliament this week, would make it an offence to vilify, intimidate or threaten to cause harm to a person on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status or religious conviction during the survey.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said there were also provisions for authorisation of advertisements, reasonable opportunity to have opposing views broadcast, offences against bribery and threats and the prohibition of misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to the completion of survey forms.

"We want this process to be fair and for Australians to get the opportunity to have their say in an appropriate environment," Senator Cormann said.

The legislation would be in effect for the period between its commencement and the declaration of a result on November 15.

"We urge all campaigners on both sides of this debate to express their arguments with courtesy and respect," Senator Cormann said.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is aiming to get the survey forms out to 16 million voters by September 25, with the first forms in mailboxes this week.

The form asks, "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?", followed by yes and no boxes.

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said while Labor remained opposed to the $122 million survey, all the opposition could do now is minimise its impact.

"Over the past few days, Labor has secured important concessions from the government that prohibit vilification and hate speech being a part of this process," he said.

Labor would continue to call out any hurtful and divisive speech and stand with the LGBTI community.

© AAP 2017

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