Will You Be Completing This Year's Census?

Will you be completing the upcoming 2021 Census?

I'm keen to see the community's sentiment and trust in the Government/ABS. It says on the website that you could get fined if you don't complete it.

Poll Options

  • 1134
    Yes, I trust the Government/ABS
  • 433
    Yes, I don't want to get fined
  • 33
    Not this year
  • 23
    Never have


      • +2

        Why are they concerned?

        Do they know something that we don't?

        • -5

          You provide your name, address, date of birth, income, number of people in your household, etc.

          Data leaks keep happening every day, and the way how the government keeps the information might not be reassuring. Episodes such as the Accelion and many other breaches reported on https://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/notifiable-data-breaches/not... in the last years.

          If you believe that the data is safe and only used for statistical purposes, and then deleted, that's probably not a big issue. However, that's an interesting database to be targeted by the bad guys.

          Citizens or non-citizens might have many reasons why they don't want to share data with the government.

          • +4

            @this is us: Doesn't the ATO have all this stuff already? The government's inability to do anything correctly is a slight worry security wise though.

            • +10

              @brendanm: That's the paradox of privacy.

              The ATO isn't allowed to pull your personal information from other departments to build their data, it needs to be genuinely anonymous.

              The census is necessary because they actually respect privacy and must follow legislation (that does not necessarily apply to other gov departments)

          • +5

            @this is us: If you get the paper copy, you can leave out certain details that are of no statistical value, e.g. name. You'll only get a fine if they visit you to insist and you still refuse. Last time I gave everything but my name, no one chased it up.

          • @this is us: Its ABS.

            There hasn't ever been a breach in the history of the census.

          • +27

            @this is us: People on Facebook: It's my birthday today! Party at my place at [address!] Call my mobile [04xxxxxxxx] to RSVP! Also, I just got a raise at [workplace] from [old salary] to [new salary]! Here are photos of the inside of my house, and my children!

            Also people on Facebook come Census time: BuT mY pRiVaCy

            You already declare your name, address, date of birth and income to the ATO. Don't pay tax? Then you declare it to Centrelink. Don't do either? Medicare knows the first three, plus every medical service you've ever had and every script you've ever filled. Your name and address are on the electoral roll. Don't vote? Don't pay taxes? Don't use public health care? Don't receive income support? Well we're into sovereign citizen territory now and I'll just keep walking.

            • +2

              @GrueHunter: So you're making an argument that the Census isn't needed as the Government already has all the data they need?

            • @GrueHunter: You have to be able to see the big picture. I am not talking about myself, but about many individuals who are citizens or not, and have legitimate concerns about sharing their identifiable data with the ABS.

              You might not be able to understand that if you have never been in a vulnerable position in which you might depend on the government's decision to have your visa or social support approved, including job seeker, etc.

              You are assuming that everyone has a Facebook account and share sensitive information there all the time, so they shouldn't be worried about providing their data to the government? This is far from the truth, and a weird comparison anyway.

              You are just simplifying the problem when 30% of the population was born overseas and at least 10% are not citizens.

              Many citizens have reasons not to trust the government itself, or the way how the government keeps the data.

              When you apply for a visa, you might have to get tested for HIV, hepatitis, and tuberculosis, and the visa might be denied if you are HIV positive. I'm not getting into the discussion about visa discrimination, but it's easy to understand why people might choose not to share sensitive information with the government.

            • +1

              @GrueHunter: To be fair, I have no Facebook, Instagram etc, and post nothing online that can actually be attributed to myself in real life. About three things come up if someone Google's my actual name.

            • -2

              @GrueHunter: 'I am a sovereign human female and my name is Karen'

            • @GrueHunter: You forgot - oh, my back door doesn't lock…I'm going on holidays…I just got a new massive screen TV delivered!

          • @this is us: that's funny considering the government already knows who you are when you came out your mother's womb.

      • +20

        concerned about privacy but….
        happy to give age, dob, address, mobile, bank account details for cash back sites, freebies, etc


        • +5

          Some do, others might provide fake information for cashback sites…

          • @this is us: How do you provide fake bank details? Assuming, of course, you actually want to receive your cashback money…

        • Not exactly apples to apples. Cashback sites do not have a compelling power of governments.

        • You don't need to give your DOB, your mobile, or your bank account details.
          You can just give age, they do ask address, and you can give email address instead of your mobile number, and your name. As you say, that's basically the same info (apart from age) as some people would give a random site for a freebie.
          And you can just leave the income questions blank and skip to the next question (we did, I think it's need-to-know and the ABS doesn't, obviously the ATO needs-to-know though).

    • essential travel visits ?

      • Good point, I wonder how it'll be handled with all the lockdowns this time around… I'll just make sure to fill mine in so I don't need to find out

    • +3

      Maybe, but last time, they never sent a letter to our home, and never followed up. And the house existed for 40 years. Likewise a few neighbours never got theirs or any follow up. Some completed it online, the others just waited for this "chase up" which never came. You would think with some filling it on line, they would wonder why the street had numbers like 60 70 72 reporting but nothing in-between.

      Guess someone couldnt be bothered, probably went into the too hard basket by their feet.

    • +1


    • +4

      If only COVID isolation and no visitors rules were chased this much

    • +1

      Can confirm.

      Got on some ABS survey a few years back where they would call every month or two for a year. The bloke wouldn't leave me alone until I gave him my 15 minutes every time.

      Tried to get off the list and got the standard government line of "do it, or we fine you … and you'll have to do it anyway".

  • +1

    I would, but haven't received the thing in the mail yet, so not sure how it's possible without that.

    • +4

      You don’t have to wait. You can complete it now online and have a code sent to your phone. That’s what I did.

      • +1

        Well there you go, I was under the impression they sent out a thing with a code on it. Back in my day it was all done with a pen and paper, none of this fancy electronic wizardry!

        • +4

          Our household did get a code in the mail

        • We got in the mail too
          Recipient is: The Resident

    • +1
  • +7

    I did it yesterday afternoon. Took me 10 mins.

  • -1

    I didn't vote for a long time and 1 day a massive $20 fine turned up .
    Even though I didn't register on any Electoral Rolls , somehow the system caught up with me and now I have to suffer doing all these wonderful things :)

      • +19

        I mean…they can be pushy and force people into it. We have compulsory voting!

      • +25

        How dare we require Australian citizens to follow Australian laws

        So pushy

        my rights and freedumbs

          • +23

            @The Az:

            I don't think it should make or break to become an Aussie..

            Don't vote, then don't complain about any government elected or their related decisions….

            Don't want a say, then you shouldn't have a say….

            • +1

              @SBOB: I don't think it matters if you vote or not.. we still get stuck with some guy running the country who doesn't actually really care about it's citizens.. or constantly flips on his word.

              • @The Az:

                I don't think it matters if you vote or not.. we still get stuck with some guy running the country who doesn't actually really care about it's citizens.. or constantly flips on his word

                you get the government officials you vote for, and therefore get the government you deserve.

          • +4

            @The Az: The fact the second gen Australian is here is due to government policy and the results of voting.

            Labor has always been supportive of helping migrants out while Liberals have typically haven't. The results of elections have likely had a big impact on your friends.

          • +2

            @The Az: Maybe you should try voting in a government that doesn't support compulsory voting?

        • Yeap my freedumbs of not doing it I calculate saved me over 5 figures so I was pleased with the period of the savings :)

    • +1

      Oh no you have to vote. What a terrible terrible fate that has befallen you.
      Please accept all of our sympathys for having to endure such a tragedy.

      Personally, I cannot wait for the day when politicians remove our right to vote and none of us are forced to endure such hardship of having a voice and some influence in our government.

  • +5

    Did it yesterday 15 mins for 3 people.

  • +2

    Yes, and done already.

  • +2

    Done already.

  • +13

    I don't mind doing it but asking full names, current and previous addresses, and date of birth is a bit too much, and annoying.

    Government already has all my details via ATO, Medicare, etc. I'm pretty sure many people won't be comfortable with providing data that is likely not deidentified nor kept safe, for 18 months or indefinitely.

    I'm usually pretty chill regarding my own privacy but I don't like the way how Census was implemented.

    Some friends mentioned we can do it anonymously (blank name) if the printed version is used, but not the online version. Also, some people are keen to write "Anonymous" in the name field. What could be the consequences?

    • -8

      There has never been a breach in ABS systems, census data is as secure as it gets

    • Yea 1000% agree, found this completely weird. I opted to fill names in as Person 1, Person 2 etc but to be honest with all the other info they asked they pretty much can tie it all back to ato anyways.

    • +5

      And there are laws saying the ATO, Medicare, etc can't share that data for a purpose for which it wasn't collected, and they don't.

      So you're…complaining that government agencies take your privacy seriously?

    • Weird, I wasn't asked for previous addresses.

    • +1

      The problem for the government is that if they used existing tax and Medicare data it would REALLY set the paranoid off about "a single massive database", "I gave my tax details instrict confidence",etc. And it would also be highly illegal. A bill to make it legal would never get through parliament.

      Plus tax and Medicare data is about individuals, not living arrangements and households. Which would mean it is useless for planning new roads and other infrastructure, where to build new schools, public housing needs, etc and even for benchmarking things like the unemployment rate.

    • +3

      They ask name as part of automatically checking you haven't been counted twice. Other than that it is only for genealogical research in 99 years time when it will be released to your distant descendants (its stored in a sealed underground vault till then).

      Address they need for locational data - "what's the population of Melbourne?" "Where should we draw the electorate boundary?" "How far do people commute to work and do they need a better road?" etc

      Date of birth they need both as part of checking for double counting and to find out how much the population is aging, life expectancy, etc

      • +1

        its stored in a sealed underground vault till then

        Come again?

      • That’s incorrect I’m afraid. They ask your name so they can link it with other data they hold about you, which they tie together using statistical linkage keys. You can defeat the SLK by not providing your name or spelling your name with a typo.

        • Nonsense. What data will the ABS hold about you? Answer - none, because other government agencies are strictly debarred by law from giving identifying information to the ABS without your personal permission.

          What you are confusing this with is that your census return is indeed separated into two tables, one with your name, address and DOB and one with everything else. These two tables are linkable by an SLK. But the identifying table is held tightly within the ABS - and even then only for 3 years, to give adequate time for data integrity checking (eg no double counts, etc). So the SLK is totally meaningless to any program outside the Census Division of the ABS - you can never use it to join to any non-Census data. After the 3 years the identifying table, SLK and all, goes off to a sealed vault.

    • Not everyone in Australia is registered with Medicare or the ATO and for those that do, those records are not always up to date.

      The census provides a statistical snapshot of the population at a point in time. Trying to get the same information by combining a lot of other government data sources would be less accurate and a greater intrusion on privacy.

  • +45

    The fact that is thread even exists is a testament to how many morons are developing in the world. Unfortunately advanced medical care, government welfare, and endless lines of other morons to breed with have stopped Darwinism in its tracks.

    • +1

      Lol I give yah a upvote before the flood comes hehe :)

  • +4

    What annoys me about people not completing the Census is that it measures the country's IQ as artificially higher.

    • It's ok I'll also not do it to balance it for you.

  • Let's hope there are no "attempts to frustrate" the census this year. LOL

  • +1

    My wife does it, and I have no qualms about it.
    I am fine with giving them details required for Census.

    That said, I don't trust them in that I doubt they'd be competent enough to not have any issues with census.

  • +4

    Done. I'm going to be well famous in 99 years when they publicly publish my info!

    • Yea, Hybroid's real name will be revealed to all here at Ozbargain who survive as long as you do….

  • +4

    Sure, why not?
    They see and know your PAYG statement, they have access to your bank accounts, they already have the ability to monitor calls, and if your car has GPS (your phone when in the car and using GPS/google maps or the likes), christ, one of my cars has a sticker saying "we monitor your car…". The gov can monitor your smartwatch if they wish and it's connected to any sort of data transmitting, the list goes on.


    It's just a survey…

    • LOL you've been watching too many movies. Yes there is technology out there that can monitor all your electronics.

      But Hello this is Australia, a fake first world country with boof head governments using third rate technologies. They lack the resource and ability to adapt these measures for atleast the next ,50 years.

      For example, Australia created the Opal system for other countries like HK in the 90s it took us almost 30 years to adopt that technology for ourselves.

      Best cases scenario they just go through FB and people Twitter or and social media feeds to gain information.

      • +1

        Big Koala is watching!

      • +1

        I think you are somewhat misinformed about just how far agencies have come in AU.

        I'll leave further comments alone on this point. Just know, should an AU gov agency want to know things about a POI they can do so. Just as most gov's with a progressive tech roadmap.

        If you use google, just take a look at your tracked data. Samsung cloud, etc. Download your personal data and take a look. 👍

        It's all accessible for you and any agency that can prove you are POI.

        The census. as I'm sure we are all aware, is a list of questions the Gov already knows answers to if they want to find out. Your earnings are on your tax report, your health movements and activity are logged against your medicare account, the list goes on. So what's the difference. Just to the census!

      • Why don't you move to HK if you like it so much?

      • They can just get 5 eyes brothers to spy on us. If you are targeted by state agency, good luck.

        Is not like state agencies have share their technology to mass public. Have look at GPS system, we only get basic access to technology while miltary have been using it ages.

  • I did it today. The question - "how many hours did you work last week" is going to give a pretty skewed average figure with so many people in lockdown. I came up with 3 hours - just following the lockdown rules.

  • +1

    I finished it earlier today. Fairly quick and easy.

  • +3

    I really can't imagine why you wouldn't or would have trust issues with the data they ask for.

  • -1

    Not doing it or submitting false info achieves the same as not voting or voting informal… Zilch.

  • It's about trust. It is data that represent Australian population. It is really useful data.

  • We have plenty of morons complaining about the sovereignty and how vaccines cause autism so I’m pretty surprised more people don’t complain about the Census and how it’s some form of government surveillance.

    • Yes it's just an innocent census that if you don't fill out you get punished every day until you do. Totally reasonable and all good during times of lockdowns, travel restrictions, border closures and endless disruption to normal life for everyone. The poor lil government just wants its stats.

      You know what else morons might think? That gathering stats during a pandemic will provide accurate data for futures without a virus disrupting our lives. The census should have been postponed.

  • Housemate and I filled it out the paper one at least and no idea how they collect it or if they are gonna come pick it up or whatever.

    I thought you were supposed to do it on the night of but fudge it the details are basically the same as when we did it last week as it is gonna be on Tuesday when it is collected.

    Pretty basic demographic questions with the only really intrusive one being about religion/income/employment the rest is pretty Joe Blogs kind of stuff.

    Best case scenario - we get some basic questionaire survey stuff they could have done with a mygov account
    Worst case scenario - it is as bad as a donkey vote and we get zero helpful information

    But I think most Australians are pretty good and lawful/diligent when it comes to this type of stuff so the ABS should be happy with what they collect.

    • +6

      They don't collect the form, you're supposed to return it in the envelope it came in (there are instructions on it to make sure the return address on the census form itself is displayed in the window on the envelope.

  • +2


    (But i voted no)

    and that is how I do the census

  • +1

    Yes, took like 10 minutes and the questions really are not that intrusive.

  • some of the questions were pretty stupid and may not show true results

    • "Hello, ABS? Yes, my name is sheepzpal. I know you've got a workforce that's full of qualified and experienced statisticians and you've been doing this for 110 years without incident but I think I know better than you and your survey is pretty stupid and may not show true results"

      • +1

        Yes, because governments always hire the best professionals and always make the right decisions based on what is best for the population. They always make evidence based decisions and study the possible scenarios and outcomes thoroughly. Therefore, public services are always the most efficient, money is never waisted, and the outcomes are always amazing.

        This is not Wonderland, Alice.

      • Full of qualified and experienced? haha more like lazy and overpriced. And just expressing my opinion and some may agree.

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