Anti-gay marriage commercial hits Australian screens

A television commercial urging Australians to say no to gay marriage has hit screens across the ditch.

The advertisement, released by the Coalition for Marriage, features three mothers highlighting their concerns.

It implies a child's sexuality is determined by their caregivers, with the slogan: "In countries with gay marriage, parents have lost their rights to choose."

"School told my son he could wear a dress next year if he felt like it," the first mother says.

"When same-sex marriage passes as law overseas, this type of programme becomes widespread and compulsory," the second parent continues.

Labor leader Bill Shorten says the ad is offensive and hurtful.

"This is exactly what was predicted when Malcolm Turnbull decided to waste $122 million (NZ$133 million) on a postal survey. He gave the green light to this rubbish," Mr Shorten told media.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will send out the survey in September to gauge public interest in allowing same-sex marriage.

A majority result of yes to the same-sex marriage vote could encourage MPs to move towards a law change.

Critics on social media are also slamming the 30-second clip, which has been described as "horrendous", "disgusting" and "ridiculous scaremongering".