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A statement on the census shambles

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3 August 2016


The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will be available to discuss the very significant level of public concern with the conduct of the national census.

WHERE: Parliament House lawns HOBART WHEN: 11:30am TODAY 3 August

“I have been shocked by the number of people who have approached me and my office with all sorts of concerns about the national census scheduled for next week,” Mr Wilkie said.

“A big problem is the difficulty and cost being experienced by many people attempting to contact the Australian Bureau of Statistics by phone. Typically they are experiencing very lengthy delays, if they can get through at all, and even having to pay for the calls.”

“There is also a broad feeling of confusion in the community. I am not at all surprised by this considering the experience of a group of seven people in my office this morning. One had received a paper census form even though he didn’t request or want it, one had been visited by a census official at home, two had received a letter at home with a code to use online, one had received three letters at her home, and two hadn’t been contacted at all. The one who got a paper census form is baffled by the two different serial numbers it contained, received no detailed instructions and found no mention of the specifics of fines.

“Despite the collection of names in previous censuses the logic for this has not been communicated to the public, if indeed there is any logic at all. Nor has any explanation been given for why the ABS holding this information for much longer than normal is warranted.

“I do not doubt the importance of the census and I commend the vast majority of ABS staff for doing the very best they can. But the Government needs to step up and listen to the concerns in the community and provide an assurance that no one will be fined if they haven’t been able to complete the census.”

For more information: Tim Hurd 0428 528 673