Australia sends out same-sex marriage survey with barcode 'bumsex'

  • 22/09/2017

An oversight by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has led to a same-sex marriage survey being sent out with the word "bumsex" printed in a barcode.

More than 16 million surveys were sent out across Australia by the ABS, allowing people to have their say in the postal plebiscite on same-sex marriage.

Each survey features its own unique computer generated barcode. Some of the letters beneath these barcodes have inadvetantly spelled rude wods - including "bumsex".

Australia sends out same-sex marriage survey with barcode 'bumsex'
Photo credit: Twitter/Wheelwordsmith

ABS deputy statistician Jonathan Palmer apologised for the oversight. 

"The ABS acknowledges that in issuing 16 million barcodes it did not check and remove words and phrases that may be offensive," he said in a statement.

"The codes were issued using an algorithm generating more than two quintillion combinations of letters and numbers in order to generate highly secure barcodes."

Shared across social media, the photo caused an outpouring of interest from voters across both sides of the same-sex marriage debate who found it funny.

The same-sex marriage postal survey closes on November 7.