The ABS has blamed bad weather and a bout of flu among its census collectors in the shire for the failure, which could see hundreds of people having to postpone filling out their forms.
But an ABS spokesperson said householders would not be penalised for not filling it out tonight and they would have until August 20 to return their forms.
ABS spokesperson Lynette Zito told ABC radio, ‘the only time anyone may get fined is if they absolutely refuse to do the census. So there won’t be any fines for running late, particularly if they didn’t get their forms until late.’
People are also being encouraged to fill out the census online.
When you do fill out the form however, whether in print or online, you must fill in the details as they applied to your household tonight.
Name or no name?
Meanwhile, the debate about whether it is legal not to give your name on your census form online continues to rage, with a lawyer from the Castan Centre for Human Rights saying it is not a legal requirement.
Dr Caroline Henckels, wrote on her blog for the centre, ‘It has been suggested that failing to provide your name on the census form is an offence. This is not the case: section 14 of the act states that a person only commits an offence if they fail to comply with a direction by an authorised officer, either orally or in writing, to fill out the census form or ‘a specified question that is necessary to obtain any statistical information’ in the census.
‘In other words, a failing to comply with a “direction” is not just the act of not filling in your name, but failing to provide the information following a direction made to you individually.’
She added that even in such a case ‘it would be up to the ABS to determine whether to refer a case for prosecution and for the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider whether to pursue a prosecution. It has been reported… that only a small proportion of the people who have failed to follow the direction of an authorised officer have been prosecuted.’