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Byron Shire
June 1, 2023

Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box: The Senseless

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CensusFailWhat the hell happened to the Census? For the next four years the government will be using the data of a handful of people without computers who actually triumphed over electronic citizens when the online platform spat the dummy. That’s right; all future planning will now be done with the average citizen being 82-year-old Iris with two dogs, a dead husband and zero work hours. Instead of schools and parks, nursing homes will be springing up on every street corner.

Contrary to the belief of conspirators, and there are many, the census is not the government’s attempt at securing all your data for private sale. That arena has already been cornered by corporations. We give that data freely to Woolies and Coles and our online shopping sites every time we swipe our loyalty or credit cards.

Information collected by the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) is actually vital in creating a profile of Australian life, establishing how much we work, our ethnicity, our education, our housing situation etc. The information gathered helps create profiles of our community so government can plan for schools and roads and basic infrastructure.

In fact, Annabel Crabb’s The Wife Drought was written pretty well entirely using the data from a previous census. In that book she proved that women still do most of the housework and the childcare. (Oh surprise, surprise.) Even women CEOs did more around the house than their lazy-arse husbands.

This kind of information is vital. When I throw a tantrum and sulk about how hard I work, I now have evidence to show that my plight is part of a much larger pattern of female martyrdom. It doesn’t change things, but when you are on your hands and knees scrubbing out the bins it’s nice to know that behind every gate in the street there is another woman wondering what the fuck happened to her life.

The government has been counting its citizens for years. Jesus was born on census night. Their online platforms were in the form of donkeys that were employed to return them to their place of birth. Fortunately we’ve upgraded our technology a little. But in comparison I think the donkey beat the internet this year.

The powers that be tell us that the online census was hacked so they closed it down, but one suspects the architects of the website underestimated the impact of most of Australia going online at the same time to visit the site. When has technology ever worked smoothly the first time?

The questions in the Census might seem invasive, but I think if it’s going to be a useful tool for profiling the community then we should add a few more, to give a more rounded picture of who we actually are. I want the government to know that I am more than my house, my husband, my kids and my job.

So as we now have a bit of extra time to submit let’s add a few more questions… such as: Are You Happy? How often do you call your mother? Do you have any tattoos? Do you use a breadboard instead of a plate? Do you remove all your pubic hair?

Where do you like to be kissed? Do you cry in movies? When driving how often do you employ the middle finger as a one-finger salute to oncoming drivers? Have you let yourself go? Is life as exciting and rewarding as you thought it would be?

Do you do yoga? If you answer Yes, do you secretly look around the class to check that you are the bendiest? Do you have a problem with a mosque in your area? How would you feel if Muslims took over your school canteen? Do you still look good naked? Do you still read?

This would create a more three-dimensional character for future planning. ‘The average Australian citizen for 2016 is a 35-year-old hipster running a cafe in Byron Bay serving food on breadboards; he only calls his mother for money for essential items such as beard trimmers and yoga retreats. He likes to be kissed in that sweet spot behind his ear, and yes, he does look good naked. In fact he’s online naked now.’

So instead of worrying about what we tell the government, let’s tell them bloody everything.

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  1. Well we have a village here with 86 villas and we haven’t received any paperwork whatsoever. In spite of several calls to ABS and to Members of Parliament.


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