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


  • Is there a way to strike your censors out in protest like you could a political vote?
    I’d like to discount mine in protest of the lack of a sexuality question.

    • +2


      • Do go on if you have something to say…

    • +2

      But there is a sorta sexuality question - "Male/Female/Non-binary/Prefer not to answer"

      Remember this is a survey of HOUSEHOLDS. How many people in the closet are going to give a useful answer in front of their wife or husband?

      • +3

        That's a sex or identity question, not a sexuality question.

      • Agreed but it’s going to give a much better representation than nothing at all.

        Also damn my autocorrect for changing census to censor.

    • They might not ask it because it could potentially cause conflict within households.

  • We filled ours out online last week as a normal Tuesday is pretty predictable for us. We weren’t expecting to find ourselves in home quarantine due to being a close contact, so it turns out we’ve filled it out wrong.

  • +2

    The census cannot force you to give your name. Compelling Australians to give their names to the census taker is unconstitutional, writes Bill McLennan, Australian Statistician 1995-2000



    • +1

      Retention periods for names and addresses

      After the Census has been conducted and forms have been processed, the ABS will separate names and addresses from other information on the Census form (e.g. age, sex, occupation, level of education or income). The names and addresses are then stored securely and separately from other Census data and no one is ever able to view your name or address with your other Census data. This practice is known as the Separation Principle.

      We will retain names for up to 18 months and addresses for up to 36 months.


      • +4

        Replacing name and address with a hash and storing the name & address in a separate table changes nothing when the hash still links them.

        • +1

          But the link is not possible for 99 years because one of the tables has only a single physical copy which is stored on archival media as ASCII text in a sealed vault.

          Who knows if anyone will even know SQL - or ASCII for that matter - by then? The ABS probably have to put instructions with it on archival paper in the vault.

      • +3

        They don't destroy it though. They put it all into a welded shut underground vault to be reopened in 99 years. Which is fair enough - would you really object to having people learn your name many decades after you are dead?

        • Census records are invaluable when it comes to doing family research (genealogy). I realise the majority of OzBargainers come from backgrounds that give little regard to this, but personally I've found it fascinating to discover where my ancestors were living on census night a couple of hundred years ago, what their occupations were and who was in the household. Naturally I have no problem with my data being released in 99 years time.

  • So can you really get fined by not participating in the census?

    • Yes.

      At the previous apartment I lived they somehow ended up getting to our floor even though there was a security door, & the lift required a keycard lol.

    • It is possible yes, but you have to be trying really hard not to complete it, and the ABS will give you a lot of opportunities to complete it first.

      • they will give you another chance if they can even locate you in the first place, because the census was addressed to "the resident", so it is very very unlikely, as they don't even know your name hahahaha

  • Temple of Satan encourages any atheists to simply write atheist as their religion. Writing anything else makes Australia look like it still wants to pay for churches with tax money. Something to consider for any Jedis out there

    • +3

      Writing dumb religions just makes the nation appear more religious than it actually is. Do the right thing and select 'No Religion'. Thanks.

      • What's a dumb religion?

        • +2

          I could've phrased it better, but my understanding of how the system works is that writing anything in the box (e.g. 'atheism' or 'fk religion') counts as a religion in the statistics, and so does the opposite of what atheists want.

          Whereas selecting 'No Religion' is the best way to sway political discourse away from religion.

        • A tautology.

  • -2

    What’s the point, they don’t respect my Jeti belief system under religion and so can’t claim tax exemptions, perform marriages or funerals. I feel so underrepresented I’m thinking of converting to Sith, and fighting back by not eating a mask!

  • Return to sender

  • +4

    As a public servant, I just want to say that for people who fear that the government is doing something malicious with their data, we don't have the time to do such things. We're understaffed with front line workers or working on economic recovery as is.

    • I'm upset there is no option of like a blank ballot in voting .
      Correct me if I'm wrong somebody .

      • -1

        Why are you upset that you can't bullshit your way out of your civil duties?

        You're probably the type of person that donkey votes and then complains about the government, aren't ya?

  • +4

    Census says the data is used to inform important decisions about transport, schools, health care, infrastructure and business.
    I'm sure the sports grants and car park funding were not based on Census data but on marginal seats.

    • +1

      I'm sure the sports grants and car park funding were not based on Census data but on marginal seats.

      Already proven .

      • +2

        Yeah, you're right. I forgot it was proven as all the involved and guilty people are still around…..

        • You can be proven guilty of something and not have any repurcussions.
          It's bullshit but it's not the ABS or the census' fault.

    • +1

      And how the hell do you think electoral populations, and hence boundaries, are calculated? By Census data, of course.

      The Australian Constitution actually requires regular censuses to prevent the more outrageous types of gerrymandering. Democracy is just not possible without censuses, because you literally do not know where the voters live.

      The ABS should make greater play of that - "make democracy safe. Do your constitutional duty and fill in the Census".

  • -2

    Many years ago I looked at all the stupid questions the census asked, and took advantage of an offer they then made to get the justification for the questions. The answer was along the lines of the following:
    1. these aren't aren't actually very valuable questions for us to know the answer to, but if we asked you the questions we want to ask you too many people would refuse to answer them,
    2. because a considerable number of people already don't answer, or don't answer honestly, there are alternate far more accurate sources of the same information that we already use in preference to the census results,
    3. because the census isn't actually very accurate because far more people than we admit evade it altogether, we do a follow up survey on a much smaller scale and "correct" the published census results to match it, so we could save taxpayers a fortune by just doing that follow up survey,
    4. nobody much really uses census data for the purposes we tell you it could be used for, like planning facilities, so basically we only do a hugely expensive whole population census to maintain the budget and number of jobs at the ABS, and to develop community spirit by giving everyone something they can participate in and feel good for having done so.

    After getting that I didn't do the census for decades. Now I only do to avoid the aggravation of being harassed for not doing it. I know its really largely pointless.

    The sensible thing would be to just do an US style one where there are just a few basic questions, like number of residents. But like with most issues, doing the the census better is not discussed in the media.

    • +1

      Honestly that's all a load of bollocks. I've worked in blue chip companies in Australia and the UK where Census data is the gold standard for population forecasting and understanding market potential. It is widely used by any government and consumer business.

  • +3

    Done…. it is a ridiculous Census, primarily quizzing you, on numerous occasions, about working history. They change the wording, and ask the same question, a couple of times. What has religion got to do with it… the Govt do not build churches? Where are the questions about your environment. Air quality. Neighbours. Roads. Safety. Nothing… bc it is a sham "audit" seeking out those on Govt support, whom may have failed to notify of work within the last week or so.

    • Good pickup with a severe lack of questions about environmental factors or community planning - ie. how often do you visit your local park, have you visited your community centre in the past 3 years etc.

      Felt like a draining survey that served no real purpose other than collecting employment, basic family and income information.

      Opportunity missed by the Government once again.

    • if most of australia claims to be religious, then there will be no pressure to reconsider taxing religious organisations

    • This is a really good point about adding questions about the environment. But something you might not know is that every 5 years the census questions do get reviewed and submissions put in by lots of stakeholders as to what questions should be added with a decision made after significant consultation.
      An example of this is the internet access question which was removed as most people have internet so they don't need to know this anymore.

      This census added questions on long-term health conditions question:

      Through the Census, the ABS is seeking to collect high level information on long-term health conditions. This includes arthritis, asthma, cancer, dementia, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, lung conditions, stroke and mental health conditions. Information on long-term health conditions will inform preventive health programs and funding for local services.

  • +1

    Where is the option that I am stuck overseas?

  • +1

    If census data was properly used, it can help making informed decisions. (e.g. atlas.id.com.au )

    However, in most cases, data will be abused, intentionally or unintentionally.

  • No need to fill the the form if no one is at the property on the census night.

  • +1

    10 bucks the site will crash and the government will blame hackers DDOS but its just normal traffic. Then nobody will be able to do it and nobody will be fined again.

    • You're on. The census site is hosted on Amazon Cloud services. If Amazon can't hold up to a DDOS attack, then pretty much nobody can.

      • +1

        provided that they have designed/configured the scale out functionality properly

      • IBM hosted it last time, I can see your point but I feel it will never go smoothly.

  • +7

    The census data is not just used by The ABS Or even government departments and agencies. In my working life i have accessed census data for all sorts of reasons. At first it was for academic research purposes. after that, it was Usually for the purposes of feasability studies, strategic planning for new services.

    ABS statistics are used by many organisations and are taken as accurate information. they cannot access this anywhere else, unlike the government which has many ways to access some of this information.

    if you don't complete it, then don"t complain when services, facilities or infrastructure you need are not available to you. I do agree that a Name should not be required.

    • -1

      You're repeating a common and generic response. But can you actually provide an example of specific data in the census resulting in a "service, facility or infrastructure" being more or less available?

      • Most large retail related businesses will use census data to work out if it's worth opening a store or shopping centre. I've seen examples where the census will be the difference between a shopping centre being built and not, or a retail store opening or not.

    • You need a name to ensure data integrity or else you have no way of determining if fake data was entered.

  • I finished it a couple of days ago.

  • Seeing this thread convinced me to spend a bit of time to fill it out and complete it online.

    Answered it as honestly as I can.

  • Yea it will be option 2 for me

  • +1

    I used to work for the ABS decades ago when there was a question about retaining records for 100 years as a rich source of fascinating material for historical reference

    paranoids rejected this - 'my privacy!'

    reminds me of when CCTV cameras were first installed - to outraged cries of 'My Privacy is being invaded !!!'

    then sometime later, after a neighbour's place was robbed - his outraged cries of 'where's the video !!!'

  • Aside from the total cluster#%*# of census gate then falsely blaming a DDOS attack rather than admit a server issue caused by incompetent planning decisions.

    My main issue with the ABS is their failure to be independent and never correcting (bipartisan) manipulating the use of their data i.e. politician claiming unemployment has dropped to x% neglecting to specify they have used data for white males between 30-32 years old who are in a domestic partnership with at least 1 dependant.

    what value are most government agencies when the political party in power can install their own people on the board to provide the answers they want. government agencies should operate under a charter at arms length from government, and be required to answer questions from government if issues are raised.

    • -1

      It's not the ABS's job to tell people how to use the data.

      Also, it was a DDoS attack; they had just also not configured their systems well enough to withstand the relatively small attack.

      • Hey thanks for your reply, I acknowledge there was a small DDOS however all popular websites suffer attacks at this level and should be seen as expected and business as usual.

        Regarding "Not ABS's job to tell people how to use the data" I believe it should be for politicians, otherwise why are we collecting the data if planning & strategies can be put in place using manipulated data.

  • Be glad you're not in some other countries where you don't even need to fill in a survey. You go into an education camp and that informs the survey results.

  • +6

    Anti-vaxxers probably losing their shit over needing to complete the census.

    It's serious stuff when that 5G antenna starts growing out of your orifice after doing the census

    • Get vaxxed!

      • No thanks.. lol

    • It'd be sweet if you actually got 5G out of the vaccine I might actually be able to get usable internet

  • +1

    Which is worse I wonder, people not completing the Census or people giving erroneous answers to the questions on the Census because they feel they are being forced to complete it.

    • If they write higher household income than they actually get, the government won't focus on their areas for providing support. It is like cheating in your test thinking you can be awarded but your teacher can't help you because s/he thinks you understand it.

  • +1

    So much information the govt has already.

    Census’ seem irrelevant.

    • There are many new estates around the country since the last census, if they don't know the age group, income levels, backgrounds of those areas, how can government try to provide infrastructure such as public transport and road upgrades?

      • +1

        I think the point is between the ATO, centrelink, education department etc etc the government actually does have that data. Just did my census and realistically most of the questions the government could have answered on my behalf perfectly well. The problem is purely one of bureaucracy and laws preventing them from utilising that data rather than them not having it.

    • +3

      Yes and no. That information can't be shared between departments due to privacy, which is why Census requires you to provide it again for statistical analysis.

      • This - there are so many things that have slowed government progress because of the laws preventing them from sharing information with each other.

    • If the government can't share the information they already have, then what hope is there of fining you for not completing it when they have sent it to "the resident"

  • -1

    Census is kind of unavoidable, like death and tax.

    • Pretty sure builders who take cash can avoid tax pretty easily.

    • very easily avoidable..

      Or is your name 'To the Resident'?


      • +1

        how can they fine "the resident" hahaha

        • I read the Census & Statistics Act 1905 - you can get fined:

          "14 Failure to answer questions etc.
          (1) A person commits an offence if:
          (a) the person is served a direction under subsection 10(4) or
          11(2); and
          (b) the person fails to comply with the direction.
          Penalty: One penalty unit.
          (2) Subsection (1) is an offence of strict liability.
          Note 1: For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.
          Note 2: A person commits an offence in respect of each day until the person
          complies with the direction (see section 4K of the Crimes Act 1914)"

          • @frostman: They don't know my name, they are calling me "the resident". They can't enforce a fine addressed to "the resident"

  • +1

    Return to Sender

  • Cenus = dyslexic

    No more census anymore.(works for voting too, not car fines tho because that's on you!)

    Your welcome.

  • +1

    Census data can be really, really interesting and useful even to the average curious punter for years.

  • +1

    The problem with the census is that it is sold to Australians as the authoritative source of statistics, but in reality because the participation in it is considerable less than claimed, it produces nonsense results, and that results in bad policy based on its numbers.

    We had the farce after the last census where it was asserted that there wasn't any problem with the supply of housing in Australia, and so there wouldn't be continued price rises, because the census said about 10% of residential premises were unoccupied. This was obvious nonsense. No-one lives anywhere where 10% of houses are unoccupied. It should have been a huge alarm that that's how many people the census is missing. That the population is probable at least a million more than the census says, and quite possibly more.

  • -1

    The question is "Will the anti-lockdown protesters and people who refuse to use QR code do the census" simply because it comes from the government?

  • Hang the f on. Youll get booked if you don't do it?

    • +2

      It's been like that since forever….
      Next you'll say oh my god I get fined if I don't vote.

      • Lucky me i don't have to vote.

      • only if they know your name….."the resident" hahahahaha

  • can we still put religion Jedi or Sith though?

    • Open the website and find out

  • -3

    Yasss. Can't wait to see the results. Unfortunately it's all self-reported (yup I definitely did 100+ hours of unpaid domestic housework last week, while my partner also did 100+ hours of unpaid domestic housework) so not sure how reliable the census results will be.

      • +1

        That wasn't the point? The point was because it's self-reported you can literally put anything on it and no one would check whether it's true, correct, or not. Hence the data might not be that useful. Maybe even useless.

        • Yeah but no one really cares you spent 100 hours washing dishes and doing laundry.

  • +1

    I completed it however for those who are calling anyone who is hesitant paranoid I'd like to point out our government doesn't have a great track record of respecting people's privacy.
    Most recently it was told to us that covid checkin data would only be used for contact tracing this turned out to be a sham as there were no legal protections in place.

    The Nazis also used census data…

    I'm not saying this is going to be the case but calling people paranoid without bringing up any evidence of legal or technical protections means you were just talking out your ass.

    • +1

      Oh good Godwin's law has now been invoked, everyone can relax now.

  • Completed already. All good!

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