Friday, 02 September 2016 07:02

Census 2016: Greens' push to make ABS drop fines Featured

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The Australian Greens have drafted a motion to secure a commitment from the government that the Australia Bureau of Statistics will not fine anyone who does not complete the census.

Independent senator Jacqui Lambie and Senator Nick Xenophon have also backed the motion.

The motion asks the government to "direct the Australian Bureau of Statistics to issue a statement declaring that no Australians will be fined for failing to complete the census".

The census was supposed to be held mostly online on 9 August but the website was taken offline at 7.30pm following what was claimed to be a distributed denial of service attack. This claim has been disputed.

Both before this date and after, the ABS has been threatening that those who did not complete the census would be fined.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, who had said on the day of the census that the party would, if needed, push for legislative amendments to ensure that fines were not imposed, said: "We've asked the government to assure Australians caught up in the censusfail that they will not be fined.

"It's ridiculous to think that thousands of people who have been unable to complete the census thanks to technical failures, or unwilling to after their confidence in the process was shattered, might be compelled to pay this government $180/day thanks to the government's own incompetence.

"When the senate reconvenes on 12 September, we'll vote on our motion, and if sense prevails, the Senate will demand that the government make those assurances."

Both the ABS and IBM, which received a $9.6 million contract to run the census, were blamed for the debacle.

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Sam Varghese

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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.

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