The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) issued a formal apology after it mailed out surveys on gay marriage that included an offensive word on the barcodes.
More than 16 million ballot cards were mailed to Australians a little less than a month ago to gauge citizens’ views on a same-sex marriage addendum, but after many households received ballots with barcodes reading “BUMSEX,” ABS deputy statistician Jonathan Palmer issued an apology, saying the word was the result of an algorithm that generated random combinations, according to the Daily Mail.
“The ABS acknowledges that in issuing 16 million barcodes it did not check and remove words and phrases that may be offensive,” Palmer 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.”
The controversy comes after the Australian senate green lighted a voluntary vote at the request of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in early August. Tensions quickly rose and flyers claiming that homosexuality is the “tragedy of a family” and “a curse of death” circulated through Melbourne and Sydney soon after, according to the New York Times. (RELATED: Melbourne And Sydney Divided As Gay Marriage Vote In Australia Nears)
While some people were upset over receiving ballots with the term, most recipients found it amusing.
“It would have been far more Australian had it been “BUMSEXM8”, one viewer commented on Facebook.
“Randomness is sometimes pretty awesome,” another wrote. “Can’t. Stop. Laughing.”
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