Man, this couldn’t have been scripted any more perfectly. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has been forced to apologise after seemingly random letters formed the words ‘bum sex’ in the barcode of a postal survey sent out for the same-sex marriage plebiscite.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) deputy statistician Jonathan Palmer explained that an algorithm generated two “quintillion” random alphanumerical sequences, and considering that sounds suspiciously like a made-up number, nobody thought to check if any offensive combinations came up. Turns out at least one did!

“The ABS acknowledges that in issuing 16 million barcodes it did not check and remove words and phrases that may be offensive,” Palmer told the Sunday Telegraph.

“The ABS apologises to the survey recipient and will issue a new form if requested. The ABS will check newly issued barcodes.”

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