THE electoral watchdog has received complaints about the "Vote No" skywriting over Sydney on the weekend not being properly authorised.
The words "vote no" appeared four times over the city on Sunday morning, a day after the Coalition for Marriage launched its campaign against same-sex marriage.
A grassroots campaigner against same-sex marriage crowd-funded more than $2500 on GoFundMe to pay the pilot to write the message in the sky. One woman donated $1000 to the cause.
The anonymous author of the GoFundMe page declared it was "time for traditional Australian's (sic) to take a stand".
"It's time we all sent a clear message that we will not put up with our way of life been (sic) deconstructed any further," the page said.
The author later announced the money had been frozen by the website "until we give our names and locations".
The page was inundated with messages of condemnation.
"I feel sorry for all of you," one woman wrote.
"What an awful way to live your lives. I can't imagine being so hateful." Organisers said they were "keen to stay fairly anonymous" and defended their actions.
According to the Daily Mail, flight tracking information confirms a Cessna owned by Skywriting Australia left the message in the sky. The company's charges start from $3990. Social media users began to circulate the company's contact information and posted the abusive messages they'd sent.
One message called the business owner an "a***hole" while another post said it was "probably the end of your business".
One text message to the business owner read "usually fighting hate with hate isn't my style, but you really are a sh** human. You're definitely the biggest piece of sh** in Australia today. Probably tomorrow too. Hope you're proud of yourself. Don't be surprised by the hate coming for you. Titt for tatt, it's only fair, right? You stupid, ignorant, remorseless, pathetic, old, LOSER".
Another read "I hope the weather gets hotter this week. It might help to warm your cold black heart #loveislove".
The company has not responded to requests for comment.
The Australian Electoral Commission has received a number of official complaints regarding the skywriting.
But an AEC spokesman told AAP on Monday the "safeguards" laws passed by parliament did not apply to this type of communication.
"It is only material that is capable of containing authorisation details that is regulated by the Act," the spokesman said.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is encouraging a "yes" vote, told reporters people were entitled to express their views.
"If you want people to respect your point of view you've got to be prepared to respect theirs," Mr Turnbull said.
The Coalition for Marriage updated its website over the weekend to comply with the need for authorisation under the safeguards laws, but won't face any penalty.
"As the legislation only came into operation late last week and the website is now compliant, the AEC does not propose to take any action," the AEC spokesman said.
The response to the skyrwriting on social media on Sunday was swift and (largely) scathing:
Ballot papers for the same sex marriage survey are being posted out to Australians and are due back by October 27, with the absolute deadline on November 7.
A result is expected on November 15.
- With AAP
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