Tuesday, 09 August 2016 07:47

Census 2016: Seven politicians will withhold names


Seven Australian senators have said they will not provide their names when they fill up their census forms tonight.

Greens Senators Scott Ludlam, Sarah Hanson-Young, Lee Rhiannon, Janet Young and Larissa Waters, South Australia's Nick Xenophon, who heads his own party, and Tasmanian Jacqui Lambie have all decided to withhold this information, saying they are not convinced the census does not present a security risk.

Their decision comes in the wake of a former deputy privacy commissioner of NSW, Anna Johnston, saying she would be boycotting the census, due to privacy issues.

Johnston explained the reasoning behind her decision in an op-ed written for Fairfax Media; in short, her reason was: "Yes, to a national snapshot. No to detailed data-linking on individuals. That's not what a census is for."

In the run-up to the census, there has been a lot of confusion with many people unsure of what they should do, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics threatening draconian fines and insisting that people had to compulsorily provide their names and addresses.

While the country was under the impression that the 2016 census would be the first time that names and addresses were retained, the ABS head David Kalisch confessed some weeks back that the bureau had been lying all this time and names and addresses had been retained for 18 months since the 2006 census and linked to people's personal data.

The Greens had earlier asked that fines be waived for people who do not wish to provide their names and addresses for the census.

Ludlam said on August 4: "The ABS response to privacy concerns has been wholly inadequate, and if they refuse to push census day back, they need to guarantee they will not fine people who choose to protect their own privacy."

In the face of numerous leaks of data from companies and organisations all over the globe, the latest being the leaks from the US Democrat National Committee, the ABS has been stoic in its claim that it can provide security that will prevent any leaks.


26-27 February 2020 | Hilton Brisbane

Connecting the region’s leading data analytics professionals to drive and inspire your future strategy

Leading the data analytics division has never been easy, but now the challenge is on to remain ahead of the competition and reap the massive rewards as a strategic executive.

Do you want to leverage data governance as an enabler?Are you working at driving AI/ML implementation?

Want to stay abreast of data privacy and AI ethics requirements? Are you working hard to push predictive analytics to the limits?

With so much to keep on top of in such a rapidly changing technology space, collaboration is key to success. You don't need to struggle alone, network and share your struggles as well as your tips for success at CDAO Brisbane.

Discover how your peers have tackled the very same issues you face daily. Network with over 140 of your peers and hear from the leading professionals in your industry. Leverage this community of data and analytics enthusiasts to advance your strategy to the next level.

Download the Agenda to find out more


Sam Varghese

website statistics

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.



Recent Comments