Tonight’s the night, as many Australian’s will sit down to fill in the census many are still sitting on the fence on whether or not to participate.
Those not participating are aware that they may incur a $180 fine for each day that they don’t participate in the census but are more concerned about their privacy. With the government asking citizens to put their names to their information for the first time.
It’s not often that we have to do the census as they only come around every five years, so it’s no surprise that many over-60s are concerned they might make errors which will lead to that hefty fine. To help you, here are some questions which you need to ask yourself in order to know the correct next steps:
What do I have to do?
Every household must accurately answer the questions one Census form per house, reports the Daily Mail.
Who fills it out?
The householder or person who has the best relationship with those living in a house.
How can I fill out a form?
Census forms can be filled out online or in paper form. Most households should have received a letter with a unique login code for the Census website so they can fill out a specific form for their house.
What if I don’t have one yet?
If you’ve lost your form or it or the login code doesn’t arrive by Census night, Tuesday August 9, contact the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census Inquiry Service.
To order a paper form, call 1300 820 275.
You can fill yours up until mid-September, based on those in your house on the night of the Census.
What if I’ve got an unoccupied property or dwelling?
You’ll have to contact the Census Inquiry Service and let them know
What if I lose my code to log in to my online Census form?
Order a new form or login by contacting the Census Inquiry Service.
What happens if I live in a flat or share house?
There needs to be only one form per house so the person with the best relationship with the rest of the residents will have to fill a Census form out.
How about if I’m staying away from home that night?
Accommodation providers will supply Census forms or information.
If you’re staying with friends of family, you have to give them information so they can add you to their form.
Field officers will be heading out to remote areas handing out and assisting with the Census.
Even if you’re away from home due to a natural disaster, you’ll have to fill one out – same for those working a night shift.
What about those who are homeless?
Special field officers will attend areas where homeless people are in higher numbers and conduct short surveys. Homeless service providers also have information.
Do I have to complete the Census if I’m a foreigner?
Yes. If you’re visiting Australia on Census night you’ll have to participate. Accommodation providers will provide information about completing a form.
Who doesn’t have to participate?
The only Australians exempt from taking part in the Census are those who will be overseas on the night.
When does it have to be done by?
Ideally, a Census form should be completed on the night of Tuesday, August 9. However, people will have until about mid-September to complete theirs – until reminder letters stop and field visit staff finish checking on those who don’t complete their forms.
This means if you receive an online login or paper form later, you’ll still have to fill it out.
What happens if I don’t participate?
Providing incorrect information on a Census form can lead to an $1800 fine and late forms will incur a $180 per day fine after reminder letters and field staff visits stop.
WHY IS THE CENSUS SUCH A BIG DEAL?
Held officially since 1911 and unofficially between 1828-1911, the census is the largest collection of information about Australia’s population held once every five years.
It counts all people in the country in one night and this 17th national Census of Population and Housing this year will include 24 million people in 10 million homes.
But why is it such a big deal? The main reason is to provide an insight to the country’s population and guide on taxpayer spending which will help the government with distribution of funding and service planning for a wide range of sectors. It has helped and will continue to help guide health research. The census also helps set electoral boundaries.
“I don’t want my private information to be leaked to hackers”
While the government and the Australian Bureau of Statistics are trying to calm everyone’s fears that their information is going to be secure, many are pointing to last year when “hacktivists” group Anonymous hacked and leaked thousands of username, password, and email address from the US Census as proof.
The Census Program Manager, Duncan Young is confident that things will go off without a hitch. Duncan told The Australian “The census is progressing to our plans,” continuing with “It just needs to be completed in relation to census day, so who was staying in the household on census night”.
While privacy is a concern, the cons of not filling out the census are even greater as there is countless forms of infrastructure, funding, and policy developed based on census information. So for those on the fence about whether or not to participate you have to wonder what are you prepared to miss out on because of your non-participation?