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Byron Shire
May 12, 2021

Census danger a beat-up

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Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning May 12

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Jim Beatson, Byron Bay

I think the whole danger of the census is just a beat up by people that are convinced that there are conspiracies everywhere. The Australian Bureau of Statistics is an excellent organisation which which I have had a lot of contact over the last 15 years. They are the main sponsors of the annual conference of the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia. The ABS staff are practical progressive people who know they need to have really detailed analysis of the Australian population at regular intervals not only for economic reasons but to show the diversity of the Australian population in terms of real and growing levels of permanent employment, sexuality, religious commitment, actual income, ethnic origins etc. Which is the reason why Tony Abbott proposed only having having censuses every 10 years. To save money and to pretend that we are a happy little homo-genius society of white Anglo-Saxon God-fearing true Aussies. Give me a break.

In reality most people supply vast amounts of personal information through Facebook quite freely which Facebook and Google, far larger than the census asks. Facebook and Google are able to suck up this info using their algorithms. Most people do this without ever thinking for a second about about what they are offering up to Facebook and Google.

People love fake conspiracy theories and I believe this is one.

It’s one of the reasons why I’m very depressed about the fate of humanity because people are so easily sucked in by nonsense.

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  1. Thanks for your spot on comments Jim. Part of the reason for the lack of trust in the ABS is the lack of support given by politicians and some commentators for public servants (at least the ones that do not wear uniform). If the outside public were made aware more often of the professionalism, hard work and high ethical standards of the Australian Public Service – in the way we rightly remind ourselves of the merit of the ADF, our police, nurses and other uniformed public servants, this misplaced lack of trust would not be so rife. It is compounded when ignorant politicians like Hanson-Young refuse to the obey the a law of the parliament in which they sit by not providing the information the ABS requires – something which, if she was a true public servant, would be a breach of the APS Code of Conduct and so the Public Service Act, and would subject her to a reprimand or penalty. And having chosen to break a Commonwealth law it surely must weaken any future righteous stance she might take against, for example, a mining company that breaches environment protection legislation. One of the ironies of all this is that in order to be trusted with private and other secure information, public servants are assessed by our security agencies and must provide the most confidential details about their lives. It is therefore at the very least amusing to anyone who has been through that process to see people concerned because they have to tell a public servant that about their ethnicity or where they live.


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