Over 16 million surveys were sent out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this month polling households on the legalisation of same-sex marriage.
The postal ballot is not technically a vote, but a 'Yes' majority will mean the Australian House of Commons will hold a free vote on marriage equality for the LGBT+ community.
Each survey had it's own barcode attached, to uniquely and anonymously compile the survey response data, and a number of those issued included rude words.
See the below:
In response to the incident ABS Deputy Statistician Jonathan Palmer said:
The ABS acknowledges that in issuing 16million barcodes it did not check and remove words and phrases that may be offensive.
The ABS apologises to the survey recipient and will issue a new form if requested.
The codes were issued using an algorithm generating more than two quintillion combinations (2,000,000,000,000,000,000) of letters and numbers in order to generate highly secure barcodes.
The ABS will check newly issued barcodes.
Anyone with any concern about their barcode should contact the ABS on its Information Line or website for a new one.
You can request a new barcode or contact the ABS here.
The closing date for the postal vote survey is 7 November and the results are expected 15 November.