CAUSE AND EFFECT: Rather than being census-triggered, the delivery of public infrastructure such as hospitals, roads, schools and public transport seems more politically motivated. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Death by numbers, do we need a census?

Perhaps it is time to reconsider why we need to survey the nation every five years. 


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Census??? What census??? I have lived at the same address for over 20 years and participated in past census surveys, but this time around when I did not receive a census letter I registered my details on the census website. I have since found out that the other houses in my street did likewise not receive any census paperwork. I am still waiting for the ABS to contact me (I bet the TAX office could find me).

there wasn't one question in the current censuses that could possibly be used for govt plans surrounding the future. if so what was the question

Mark, I like the thinking around the potential to connect data from all levels of government to produce a similar output to the Census. I do question the statement you make about private sector not being a big user of ABS data. If I am interpreting your point correctly, I'd have to disagree. From my experience, ABS data is used by many private sector organisations as a source of intelligence. Over time, the ABS has made much of its data easier to access for analysis purposes at little or no cost. For example, its online analysis tool TableBuilder can be used to run valuable analysis at no charge.

Many people from the last census to this have been opining that the data can be collected from elsewhere and I agree. So then one has to ask why the Government (of the day) and the ABS persist and I'm left with the uneasy feeling it has nothing to do with planning (or if it does then that too is a failure) and more to do with "spying" on citizens. The ID code was the final straw; who don't they just implant us with a coded tracker when we are born. Seriously, its time is up and the citizens it was designed to help don't like it or trust it or the ABS/Government anymore.

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