Answers to your Census queries and concerns

Glenn - The Census Expert

Glenn is an ABS data expert with huge intellect and capacity to convert demographic data into profound insights about places. He has contributed numerous blogs and consulting projects covering economic development, housing consumption and affordability, migration, fertility, ageing, role and function of ‘place’, communities of interest and more. Glenn works with over 120 councils bringing the client perspective into the development of our information products. He is a Census data expert, having worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 10 years. If there's anything Glenn doesn't know about the Census, it's probably not worth knowing - so ask Glenn!

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252 Responses

  1. Louise marzec says:

    Glen this census is a mess.
    We have two pairs of elderly parents all I. Their 80’s and 90’swho are freaking out about getting fined They can’t complete the census online and have rung about 10 times to request the paper version but the lines are so inundated with callers that they can’t get through.
    Neiither of them kept the info sheet with the 10 number code as they thought it was junk mail.
    The $180 fine per day is freaking them out.

    • They don’t need to worry – no-one is going to get a fine for attempting to do the right thing. Hopefully the lines will clear soon and they can request a paper form. Failing that field officers from Census will be following up and can provide forms.

  2. Clem ROOK says:

    According to the Census staff (whom I rang ) the paper form replies have an initial deadline of being returned by the 30th September 2016.
    I do not see that in you information – you seem to be a Government voice.
    If the Government wants the information it is reasonable that the Government do the leg work to get the information. Here we have classic paper pen pushers getting way above their station, scaring the hell out of the populace who are not ON LINE just because they can. Some time out in the unemployment lines might make them more amenable to doing the PEOPLE’S WILL.

    • As we’ve stated above, at .id are not official spokespeople from the ABS, but as regular users and distributors of Census information we are getting a lot of calls and enquiries which should be going to the ABS. This is intended to answer some of the common questions we are getting and hopefully point people in the right direction. We have a passion for the Census data and want to assist with this process. Thanks for the information about the date for paper form returns.

  3. Sam says:

    Hi, I lost my census code. Is it possible to get another one?

    Thanks

  4. Rictor brown says:

    My son has moved many times how can he get a form etc who can he ring to get his 12 didit number

  5. jls says:

    Glen.what do we do as silent electors and victim of serious crime.we do not document address residential address.no address for any lience registration ect this is for our safety.

    • Sorry to hear about your situation. Our understanding is that the Census is completely secure so there is no risk to anyone in this situation as the information is not shared, and name and address are encrypted and stored separately from the Census responses. I’d expect the online version of the form is more secure than the paper one as your information then isn’t out in the postal system or being collected by a person. However we are not the ABS and for more clarification you should ring the Census Inquiry Service on 1300 214 531.

  6. sahlela says:

    “Our understanding is that the Census is completely secure so there is no risk to anyone in this situation as the information is not shared, and name and address are encrypted and stored separately from the Census responses.” Glenn just wondering if the information that we provide is not shared, how can you say “We have a passion for the Census data and want to assist with this process” If you, who I have no idea what you do or who you are have access to my personal data, what stops anyone else from getting hold of it?

    • Thanks for the question. The Census data is NOT personal records. The Census data is the rich demographic information about populations, how they change over time, what types of communities we live in and how characteristics are spatially distributed – and of course how this aggregate dataset can be used to help plan for better communities in the future. It is only in aggregate that the Census data matters, and only in aggregate that it’s ever released by the ABS. This is what we have a passion for – demographics and places.

      Individual records are not relevant to this and no-one outside the ABS field staff and data processing centre for a short time during collection has any access to individual information EVER. This is never released by the ABS and never will be – there are very large penalties for any breach of this. We certainly don’t have any access to personal information at .id.

      If you’re interested in how we do use the Census data, please read some of the other articles on this blog, or check our our Demographic Resource Centre http://home.id.com.au/demographic-resources/ – most likely your area has a community profile available.

  7. Rach says:

    Q, We did not get a census code form
    Have tried to call the number for the census inquiry service on 1300 214 531
    The number has crashed

  8. Rach says:

    The census inquiry service phone number is not working
    How do I get a code number form for my house

  9. Rachelle says:

    My dad has moved around and does not know where his census form could have been sent. . He does not have a residential address as he lives on site as a caretaker.. just has a po box.. ??

    • Census forms aren’t delivered to PO boxes, only residential addresses. If he’s living on-site somewhere the place should have been approached by a Census field worker to deliver paper forms. However if he hasn’t got one I suggest ringing the enquiry number 1300 214 531 and explain the situation.

  10. adam killen says:

    This is as terrible as my spelling the first I heard about the census was driving back from my week away at work , AND was shocked to find out we were expected to do it online .
    Is this the only government program they haven`t been willing to spend money on , and by the way when I got home and went through the pile of mail their was nothing about the census awaiting me.

  11. Paul says:

    Why can’t I just use my address instead of the 12 digit code, surely they are linked?

  12. nathan says:

    i’ve received 2 different census login codes to my address. both addressed to ‘the resident’. does it matter which one i use to login and complete my census?

    • I suspect it doesn’t matter which one you use, however the second one may be followed up as not returning. Perhaps your address has 2 entries on the address register. Best to call 1300 214 531 and explain you’ve got a duplicate entry and only need to fill in one. Sometimes if there is a granny flat or second residence the other entry could relate to that.

  13. Di Benedetto says:

    We have not yet receive our census letter with our number And yet our son who lives 5 houses away from us alreadyhas his weeks ago

  14. Dave says:

    It is outrageous that the ABS is making is compulsory for the first time since 1905 so provide name and address that will be linked to private and sensitive data. As there is currently NO POSSIBLE WAY to 100% guarantee the security of this data, can you please explain to me why it is necessary to collect and store our names and addresses, when it is only in aggregate that census data matters

    • Actually name and address has been collected as part of the Census since the first national Census in 1911, and prior to the 1960s was kept long-term. Most countries keep this information and it is widely used by genealogists. It’s only in recent years that this has been destroyed after processing due to privacy concerns. The ABS is still committed to destroying the name identified information but will be keeping it for 4 years for statistical data linkage, rather than the usual 12-18 months.

  15. Josie O'Shea says:

    I work with people with a variety of disabilities. Many have low levels of literacy, few (if any) computer skills, and live alone so “piece of paper from government” was thrown out. Many also don’t have a phone, or don’t understand the automated system so as to order a form. I have tried numerous times to get through on the help line and finally succeeded a week ago. I explained the situation and was told I would receive a call back within 24 hours. This hasn’t happened. I don’t understand why there is not an option to download a form on the website. Many marginalised people across Australia are going to miss out on having input as the system discriminates against people that live alone and have low levels of literacy.

    • Sorry to hear about the difficulties Josie. It’s important that low income, disadvantaged and people with a disability are included in the Census and it’s one of the best statistical vehicles for capturing these population groups who otherwise might slip through the cracks. The good news is that if they are in private dwellings (as against non-private dwellings like hostels who should have already received paper forms), there will be a follow-up from a Census field officer soon, who can deliver a paper form and explain the value of the Census.

  16. Tiahna says:

    I only heard about the census 3 days ago and have never done it before. I have called up 7 times to get a code for my log in and the number i call says its too busy. I do not want to get fined. How do i go about getting my census log in?

    • You won’t be fined just because you can’t get through or get a form in time. You have until late September to fill it in. Census field officers will be out in the next few weeks following up households who haven’t returned and will be able to issue you a form then, if you haven’t been able to get one before that.

  17. Angela says:

    We currently own 2 properties, 1 is vacant, a form was left there too so now we have 2 census forms, do we have to fill out both?

    • Fill in the form where you actually are on Census night. If the other one is vacant ring the Census Enquiry Service (1300 214 531) and let them know the address. They will mark it as an unoccupied dwelling and cancel that form. Around 10% of dwellings were unoccupied on Census night 2011 but they are an important part of the dwelling stock and will be counted as such. http://profile.id.com.au/australia/dwellings

  18. Kunty says:

    How does the ABS know which address i am at? I got my letter with the 10 digit code is that somehow linked to my address? I am concerned and don’t want to give any of my details personal/private to the Government. If that 10 digit number is linked to my address (which i suspect it is – the letter showed up with no name addressed only to the resident @ my address) i will not be doing the census. They can suck it.

    • The same way that Google Maps knows your address. There is a national address file with every valid address in the country. Canvassers went out over the last year and removed all the business addresses, vacant lots etc, and ABS is mailing to all the rest. They don’t know YOUR address, just that it is an address.

      Census details are completely confidential and data are only ever released in aggregate statistical form – as they are on our community profile sites – to help with Local Government decision making. They even make random adjustments to very small numbers to protect individual confidentiality. More information about privacy here http://help.census.abs.gov.au/about/privacy#backtotop

  19. Gillian Loughman says:

    I have two friends who say they received census forms in their letterboxes even though neither of them called to get them sent. I am concerned they are not genuine forms as I understood we only get them if we phone & ask for forms to be sent.

    • Gillian it depends where you live. Some areas are being dropped off forms, others are being mailed out forms, most are only being mailed out a login code. Please ring the Census Enquiry Service if you need to enquire about not receiving a form, as .id are not the ABS and can’t help with this.

  20. Jenni says:

    i have never done a census before and have never been fined either.
    is the fine only new to this census?

    • Hi Jenni, no – fines are not new – Census has always been compulsory, but they only apply after a notice of direction letter has been sent, which only happens if someone outright refuses. Fines are only rarely applied, but if you are in Australia on Census night you definitely need to fill out your Census.

  21. Vera beesley says:

    How can we fill in census when we didn’t get any paper work tried ringing that stupid phone number and getting nowhere am a bit concerned that we will be fined any help would be appreciated

    • The ABS has said you won’t be fined if you just didn’t receive the Census form. You still have several weeks to complete it so I would ring the enquiry number after the activity has died down a bit and you can probably get a login code or paper form then.

  22. David says:

    From cynical prospective, if you believe everything your government tells you then sure, divulge all your personal info. On the other hand if your well read and aware of what your own government has done in the past (ie: policy on the fly and retrospective laws) then privacy concerns become very valid. Certain government departments / agencies already have the ability to legally circumvent ABS privacy laws so the ABS cant make a 100% assurance that your info will be secure.
    Personally, I understand the need for governments to have certain information for funding and planning reasons but some of the questions that the ABS is asking us to answer (with the threat of a $180 per day fine if you dont answer) are totally irrelevant to what is really needed.
    I’m with Nick Xenophon, supply all info and no names.

  23. Sil says:

    Is the census code per household and you just add all occupancy at the one time

    • Hi Sil, in private households it’s normally one code per household, so everyone in that household on Census night is included on that form. I believe if there are more than 10 people in your household you do have to ring the enquiry number (1300 214 531) for a second code.

  24. Fleur says:

    We haven’t received anything…paper form or logon letter… We are in cbd Darwin…it’s the night before census night… I don’t have time to “call”. Is there an email or SMS number I can request the login ?

  25. Dave says:

    My elderly mother lives in an independent living unit within a retirement village. She has not received a census letter. Does she need to complete a census form? She can do it on line if she has the code.

  26. Raeleen says:

    A friend of mine is currently studying at uni here in Australia but is from over seas, does he need to fill in the census form too?

  27. Randall says:

    I am a carer for my mother and receive a carers a carers payment and allowance from centrelink. How do I answer questions 32 and 33 in the Census? They don’t seem to offer any accurate options

    • Question 33 is about income, and your carers payment would be included in that. Question 32 is about number of children ever born so I’m not sure of the problem with that. The ABS is the final word though, so maybe ring them on the enquiry line 1300 214 531.

  28. I live in an area where there is no mail service and my son and I have not received our unique identifiers for the Census. I have also tried contacting your office but it is experiencing a high level of calls and I can’t get through. How can we fill out the Census if we have not been given our identifier numbers? What do we do?

    • Hi Kelly, you should ring the ABS Census Enquiry Service about this. 1300 214 531. But maybe wait a day or so until their wait time gets a bit less. You won’t be fined for not completing it if you just haven’t received a form, and you have several more weeks to do it.

  29. Maria says:

    Hi Glenn
    I have not received my Census Code, I have tried to call repeatedly but the lines are continuously busy. How can I get the code I need and will I be fined?

    • No, the ABS have said you will only be fined if you refuse to do the Census – not being able to get through is not your fault! There are several more weeks to fill in the Census form. While it would be ideal to do it on the day, filling it in late is OK. I’d wait and call 1300 214 531 once the current high call volumes die down in a day or two.

  30. Duncan says:

    is a login ID linked to a specific address??, we received a pack at our vacation rental but nothing at our home address. can we use the login ID from our vacation rental for doing the census at our home address?

    • Yes, I believe they are linked to the address. But the ABS would be able to tell you for sure. 1300 214 531 is the number. You may be able to use that code at your home address but you’d also have to notify them about the vacant dwelling at your vacation rental.

  31. Shelley says:

    Shelley It is the 9th and still nothing. I checked the website and it states; What if you haven’t received your login details?

    At this point, some parts of Australia are still having paper forms delivered. About 20% of Australia’s population will still be covered in this way, so if you haven’t got your online login yet, it’s possible you’re in one of these areas and will still get a delivery, right up to Sunday 7th August.Can you tell me what I am to do.

  32. Mary Roberts says:

    It is Census day and while there has been much talk about it in the media, I have not received any notification about it as yet. This is the first time this has happened which is quite curious given there is now supposedly the convenience of completing online. I would have thought this would have brought about efficiencies. I live on the Mornington Peninsula and not in remote Australia.

  33. Karen says:

    My brother is staying with us for a few days, should he be doing the census for the residential address that he normally stays at or be included in mine?

  34. Lisa says:

    Why are people freaking out? I’m completely bemused. They give more personal data to a private company like facebook and the world in general in one post of their kids birthday attended by Grandma (maiden name) and all the presents the kid got (plus photos) and imminent holiday plans than they do to the Government.

    • mick of townsville says:

      G’day Lisa,

      I don’t give my information to Facebook or any other company or the world in general. If you don’t value your privacy, fair enough, and may you receive all the obtrusive, targetted advertising, scams and maleware you obviously desire.

      I don’t trust the government or any of its bureaurcracies to not reveal my information to outside sources. They can’t even secure parlimentary privelege documents or prevent their own websites being hacked, let alone the amount of times that bureaucrats are charged with accessing privelleged information illegally.

  35. Randall says:

    I put in a query about questions 32 and 33 (which on my online census is “Last week, did Randall have a job of any kind?” and ”
    In the main job held last week, was Randall:” ) You replied with a different question. Saying it was something to do with income and children. This is not what I have in front of me online. In any case my question is that I am a carer for my mother and receive a carers a carers payment and allowance from centrelink. How do I answer the employment section? They don’t seem to offer any accurate options.

    • Sorry, maybe the questions are different numbers on the online version (I haven’t done mine yet). Generally the employment related questions don’t cover carers – carers payment is a centrelink allowance not a direct payment for services so it wouldn’t constitute employment. There is another question about this which on the paper form is number 49, not sure on the online version. Many questions like this on the Census form have a level of interpretation required by the respondent, but you may want to call the ABS and seek clarification. 1300 214 531

  36. Simone says:

    Our work office is located at a residential house and we have received a census login. No one will be at work tonight, we will all be filling out our home census. Do I need to do anything about this address?

    • At some point you need to notify the ABS that it’s vacant so you don’t get a field officer following up. Ring them on the enquiry line 1300 214 531, but give it a few days as they’re inundated at the moment.

  37. Denise Smith says:

    How & When are the forms collected? Do I post it back in the blue envelope? Or will some one come and collect it?

    • If you’ve got an envelope to mail in your Census form I’d suggest doing that. Eventually someone will come and collect it but ABS are encouraging you to do it online or mail it in if you can.

  38. Jacinta says:

    Will my paper census be collected or do I have to post it in?

  39. Ella says:

    Hi is it one form per household? or each person must complete a form individually? thanks

    • There are two types of Census forms – an orange household form, with room for up to 6 people (and its online equivalent with room for up to 10), and a personal form which is used for additional people over the 6 in the household, and for everyone in Non-Private Dwellings (like hotels and nursing homes). If you’re in a regular private household the orange form is the one you use, for as many people as are there.

  40. Sandra Leighton says:

    Has the system crashed for online input> Ticking on complete my census and nothing comes up to enable me to put login number in. Im over this already.

    • I don’t know. If you’re having technical problems it’s best to ring the ABS Census enquiry number 1300 214 531. But you’ve still got a few weeks to complete your form, if the system is having problems maybe leave it for a bit.

  41. Sharon says:

    I just tried to call the hotline number and they are flooded with calls, how on earth do I get my census login id as we have not received this in the mail and we have not received a paper copy either….

  42. mick of townsville says:

    Glenn,

    Read the census act and it states in
    CENSUS AND STATISTICS ACT 1905 – SECT 9

    Statistical information to be collected
    (1) The Statistician:

    (a) may from time to time collect such statistical information in relation to the matters prescribed for the purposes of this section as he or she considers appropriate; and

    (b) shall, if the Minister so directs by notice in writing, collect such statistical information in relation to the matters so prescribed as is specified in the notice.

    (2) The Statistician shall collect such statistical information as is necessary for the purposes of the compilation and analysis, under section 12, of statistics of the number of the people of each State as on the last day of March, June, September and December in each year, but nothing in this subsection shall be taken to limit the generality of subsection (1).

    How does collecting and retaining names fit into the collection of statistical data. Is the ABS going to release the number of names starting with S as a statistic.

    I also noted that one of the uses stated by the National institute is to track data over time such as people recieving longterm welfare. This is not only NOT statistical data it is an invasion of privacy.

    So please clarify to me how the compulsory collection of names and addresses is to be used to produce statistical data.

    • My understanding is that name is a better variable for longitudinal linkage and linkage to other collections than the combination of answers to form a key, which is why they are moving down that path. This is not about the tracking of individuals but the creation of linked statistical datasets looking at outcomes over time in aggregate.

      However we are not the ABS and can’t answer your queries about the legality of anything in the Census and Statistics act. You would need to contact the ABS to discuss legal issues.

    • mick of townsville says:

      Thanks Glenn,

      What you have described is link analysis. An incredible powerful tool utilised by criminal investigators and intelligence analysts to isolate individuals from large amounts of of seemingly unrelated data.
      Are you starting to draw any conclusions yet? Glenn who is an ABS data expert with huge intellect and capacity to convert demographic data into profound insights about places. Just putting it out there.

  43. Surinder Singh Manku says:

    We have not yet received our code number to enter our detain on tonight census in New South Wales on 9th August 2016 at 3:20 pm.

  44. Jill says:

    I made a mistake on the form and only realised after I completed it. I tried to log back in but now I have a receipt it won’t let me.

    • SarahJ says:

      When you go back you have to put in your original census number first and it will tell you you have already have a session active and then come up with another box where you put your receipt number. I did the same thing!

    • Pam says:

      This happened to me also – I left someone off I didn’t know would be here.
      What do I do now.

  45. mick of townsville says:

    Disregard my last. Premature response syndrome. tic!

  46. Sofia says:

    After 3 hrs of downloading, I’m still waiting for the census form to download, is there a problem. I know it’s not my end cause everything else is working fine.

  47. SarahJ says:

    So is the fine based on an INDIVIDUAL that doesn’t complete the census, or is it based on HOUSEHOLD.

  48. Susanne says:

    Once we put in our code and saved our password am now unable to go any further as the computer will not start census.
    Please help

  49. Kim says:

    Do I need a new 12-digit code for my two AirBnb guests staying at my house as well? Or do I include them on my form?

    • That’s a very interesting question which I’m not sure the ABS has considered. Regular B&Bs are called Non Private Dwellings and are delivered personal forms in advance for any guests staying there and are counted separately to the residents. AirBnB are probably just extra guests in your own home and so included on your own household form, but I’d be inclined to check with the Census Enquiry Service on 1300 214 531. These are new issues which didn’t occur at the last Census!

  50. chao chih chang says:

    i have not receive my census form

  51. Daniel says:

    What happens if the form is filled out by another member of the household and the data about you is incorrect but you want to keep that information private from the rest of the household?

  52. Ricki Barnes says:

    Just wondering why your FAQs don’t mention that name and address data is going to be stored this year in a different way to how it has been before? Seems like a good opportunity to mention that, for better or worse.

    I’m also interested that your question addresses things your Census data can’t be linked to, like Centrelink information, but fails to mention things that it can be linked to, such as health data. I think this is an area a lot of people would also be concerned / wanting to be informed about.

  53. KLEW says:

    The website is not working for me!!!!! Anyone else have this issue?

    • Jenine says:

      Yep. It is 8.17pm and the site will not load. Seriously. It would seem the government has just said we can save all this money and they have not thought through the process. What a shame. The census is a valuable source of information for policy development and economic planning. So many people will now see it as a waste of time and it has devalued it’s importance. All that money that was saved is going have to be spent on educating people as to why they should complete future census

  54. karen says:

    hi I have adult children living in a granny flat on my property are they to be included on my census form or should they have on of their own

    • This is one of the areas I’ve been unsure about with the new mail-out methodology by ABS. Granny flats generally don’t have a separate street address and so may not get a mailout login but are separate dwellings so technically should be counted as a separate household. In the end it’s probably better that they be included on your own household form than not included at all, but you could ring up the ABS for a separate code (you’ll probably have to wait a day or so until the phone lines clear).

  55. Steve says:

    Hi, I wont ne home tonight until late and will complete the census online at the house I am visiting. Since the code for my house wont be used, will I need to prove I have completed the census

    • Hi Steve – you only complete the form at the house you’re visiting if you are actually staying over night. If you just arrive back home late you would normally fill in your own one. If you do stay over, just ring the enquiry service (1300 214 531) and tell them what happened and your dwelling will be recorded as vacant. You put your usual address on the form anyway.

  56. Pania says:

    I didnt receive my log in information in the mail.

  57. Peter Cuskelly says:

    I have tried all day to get online to fill out the census. The error message indicates that the server can’t be found. What’s happening ?

    • Janine S says:

      I’ve been trying to connect for hours but unable to connect. Error looks like it’s my side but census site is the only one not responding.

    • Janine S says:

      I’ve been trying to connect for hours too but unable to connect. Error looks like it’s my side but census site is the only one not responding.

    • Delta says:

      I too have the same error message when trying to log on to the website

  58. Rachell says:

    I have not yet received the letter in the mail, telling me my login details to complete the census. Do I need to call for it to be sent?

  59. Helen says:

    I believe that we threw out the letter with the logon details. What do we do to get a new one?

  60. June Brannigan says:

    There were no letters delivered to my unit block. How do I get a code?

  61. John says:

    If u just moved over from New Zealand do I have to do the form

  62. Frances says:

    My parents are at my place tonight, am I right to add them to my census form as they got an online code but neither use a computer and calling the hotline as been no go!

  63. John says:

    Just moved over from New Zealand 2 months ago do I have to fill out form

  64. Lynda says:

    Please advised – do we fill in one form for the one househould

  65. Carlos Francis says:

    I received 2 login codes for one residence which one do I use

  66. Osvaldo says:

    Hi, I arrived on time to my house on the August 9 to fill up the form but my house mates fill the form and didn’t add my name, because they thought they could add it later, but apparently we can’t add my name. Tried to call the number but with no success. I have fill an enquiry explaining the issue but I don’t know what to do now?

  67. Peter says:

    What a joke the cenus online is I only want to fill out my information but it wont let be go any further unless i fill out the other household members information so I have given up because I cannot go any further.

  68. Bruce Young-Smith says:

    abso–@#$%^&*$^–lutely amazing _ others are bitching about not filling in full form and I cant even get one –
    but then Ive only lived here 35 years — already got the “we’re to busy to get you a on line number — deal with it”

    if they were not ready why did they want to go online – or
    was it a fed treasurer request to do more with less– key word missing here is planning —
    not happy Jan

  69. Ian Stuthridge says:

    Website not there, i put the details in and i get ” this site can’t be reached”
    HELP

  70. Kate says:

    Hello
    I have been trying to login to the website however it is just not loading for me. I have tried on my computer and on my iPhone. Can I try again tomorrow?

  71. Peter says:

    My attempts to reach the census website are timing out. I can access other websites

  72. Stacey says:

    Hello , my partner and I just loved house and didn’t receive the paper work ?
    Iv tried calling but can’t get through and we can not afford the fines? What do I do ?
    Stacey

  73. Eugene says:

    Hi Team,

    I made a mistake and submitted my form already today. I misread that is was people that were home at the time of doing the census instead of who is staying at the house during the census (I was doing a work call during the time unfortunately). How can I fix this and enter the additional details in that were not entered?

  74. Di says:

    I can’t log on. I am getting an error message. The message reads “Hmmmm, we can’t reach this page”
    What happens now?

  75. Ray says:

    Where is complete my census as it is not on the web page as dascribed

  76. Huytran says:

    Im an oversea worker and workingin Australia. Iam not a permanent resident
    So do i need to fill the Census form

  77. The ABS servers have crashed. Remember you still have several weeks to do your Census online.

    • Graeme Campbell says:

      hardly a surprise considering. An ABS spokesperson claimed they could cope with a million completed forms an hour DOUBLE what they expected. Five Million is probably what they really needed The ATO couldn’t cope when they moved tax returns online Cenrelink still can’t cope. I expect all the ABS has done has set themselves up for their own compulsory Distributed Denial Of Service ATTACK

    • Daniel says:

      Wow. What a big surprise. If they can’t even run the census online on the biggest night of the year without the system disintegrating why should we trust them to keep our data safe. The ABS has totally squandered public support including mine for the census. I will never trust them again after this. And now it’s too late. How sad.

  78. Wilson says:

    “But to reiterate, the ABS cannot and will not share any personal information with other departments or private companies. This will never happen.”

    Tell that to individuals who were rounded up by their government and put into camps purely on the basis of their race, using Census data. This didn’t happen in 1940s Germany, but in the good ole US of A.

    Learn from history, or be doomed to repeat it.

    • Not sure how this is relevant to Australia.

    • mick of townsville says:

      Glenn,

      This is important because it is a direct example of a democratic government using information gathered from a census to target individuals. In this case it was Japanese migrants. I among many, do not blindly trust in the government to not misuse my information. Even if their intentions are good now, times and attitudes change. Also I noted from the ABS website they intend to become more self sufficient in terms of funding. Just one guess of what they have to sell.

  79. SAM says:

    I have already filled census form online but missed out partner details. How can we add partner details now because census now said it’s complete.

  80. I tried to go onto Census website but it just keeps on loading…..my internet is fine when I checked, its just the Census website what doesn’t work! :(((

  81. Carolyn Jenkins says:

    My household never received a log in letter or a paper option before tonight. What are we expected to do. What a total mess….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  82. tinh nguy says:

    I havent received my census login/form/notification, how will i be able to do my census?

  83. Lily Roberts says:

    How many adults in the household can use the online code? Thanks

  84. aisha segal says:

    I Did complete my form and submitted online on 4th of july ( made a mistake) i did receive a receipt as well. do have to fll the fom again?

  85. Jess says:

    If we are from new Zealand and live over here do we need to do the census? Thanks jesd

  86. Rosemary Ray says:

    My husband and son are both FIFO workers and are currently on site and not at home – do they get included in the census firm I complete or if not how would they be accounted for?

  87. Wendy says:

    You state, it is important to note that names and addresses are kept securely in a separate place to your other Census data to protect privacy. How is this done when all information is on the same form and you post it all altogether. can you explain further what you mean?
    The Government says it’s going to hold our information for 4 years and then it will be destroyed, how then is this so when at Question 60 it asks if we agree to our name and address AND information being kept for release in 99 years?
    I also have to disagree that our information is kept safe when the world has hackers hacking into the pentagon and other defence departments.

    • I understand that the names and addresses are separated out after the initial processing, converted to a hash key and stored separately. Question 60 is the time capsule question and if you answer Yes to this, your name and address information along with your answers ARE kept together in the National Archives on microfilm, for release in 99 years. This is only done if you agree and is a completely separate process to the 4 year retention.

  88. Nancy says:

    Hi, I live in NSW but am in QLD on holidays with my Mum and visiting friends tonight. They have included me on their census form and I have filled in all the related information for both myself and my mother. Do I need to fill out another form for myself when I go home to NSW tomorrow?

  89. Libby says:

    Just wasted two hours of my precious time trying to start the census, but the website is still down. The contractor who has developed this website should be fined and held responsible for all the stress people are experiencing trying to complete this census.

  90. John says:

    Hello, i am an Australian citizen who has moved overseas to live. I only heard about the census yesterday US time! Do i need to fill out a census?

  91. Karen says:

    If I’m staying at a friends tonight how will ABS know if I put my details on my friends census form or not?

  92. Garry says:

    I have one simple quiry about the census, why ask such silly questions like how much time do you take to clean your house , let me guess they are going to pay us to clean our house or get a cleaner in for us , this question has no real valuable use if you really think about it.
    They make you put you full name on the census again why , you have my name and date of birth it is quite simple to give ATO a call and see how much I earn , which is readily avalaiable between departments.Oh yes do you own a car, well I own a motorcycle but then this mustnt count towards road users.

    • You are right, I haven’t seen a lot of people using the domestic work question! This was introduced in 2006 along with the other unpaid work questions, to look at the value of unpaid work in the economy.

      ABS can’t get name and date of birth or any other individual information from the ATO because there are strict rules around sharing of personal information. For the same reason the ATO can’t get the individual Census records. It ISN’T readily available between departments without your individual consent. And income information from the ATO misses out people who don’t submit tax returns, who are among the most disadvantaged, for whom data is really needed.

      Info about motorcycles was asked in 2001 and 2006 but dropped after this.

  93. Annette Pringle says:

    I was out when the enumerator dropped off the census form to my husband and he couldn’t remember the information. However, I have filled in the form BUT we weren’t given an envelope to post it back. How do I get one?

  94. susan king says:

    do we have to answer every question

    • susan king says:

      It’s just that Afew older people have asked and are worried that they will get a fine if all questions are not answered than Glenn your doing a great job 😀

  95. Susana says:

    What is the census e-mail? So I could ask for the census forms please

  96. Wayne Ryan says:

    I have completed and submitted my form over the Internet.

    One of the questions asked if I was willing to have my information kept for a long period, and I agreed to it being kept..

    I have forgotten the exact details, but could someone tell me how long the information is kept and whether it will be released a long time in the future as is the case for the UK Census

    • Yes, this is question 60 on the household form, also known as the time capsule project. It asks whether you give consent for your full Census form including name and address details to be kept for 99 years in the National Archives and then publicly released in 2115. This is expected to be useful for genealogists in the future. Many countries keep all the name identified records as standard and many researchers use this to look at their family tree.

  97. Amy says:

    Ive lost my reply paid envelope – What is the address to send the form to? Thanks

  98. Karen says:

    I don’t have a reply paid envelope. What is the postal address I send my census to?

  99. Margaret Leese says:

    My husbad and I both pensioners are on 5 months trip. We live in granny flat on joint titled property with sister and mother. Do we have to fill in census form or does sister include us on her form. Margaret

    • Ideally granny flats should get their own form, but this is a deficiency with the new mailout methodology. Dwellings without their own physical address get missed. So you may have to be included on the main household form. Or ring the ABS to have your own form posted to you.

  100. Yvonne says:

    Hi what do I do if there is a census form at our holiday home?
    As we haven’t been there in awhile

  101. Greg Davey says:

    The Census website is unavailable

    We apologise for the inconvenience. There will be no fines for completing the Census after August 9. We will keep you updated.

    🙁

  102. Janelle says:

    We have two residences (2 mailboxes) on our land and therefore received forms. I collected both and now don’t know which number relates to which address. How do I find this out ? Thank you

  103. Karen says:

    We filled out the paper form in black pen and posted it today. Should it have been filled out in pencil? If so, oops.

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  105. Glenn Keleher says:

    Hi. I have completed my census household form but a return envelope wasn’t supplied. Can you give me the address I need to send it to please

  106. David Blackman says:

    Our household has not received a census form in the mail. What do we do about that?

  107. Irene says:

    Although I have requested to have paper census sent to us due to the ‘outage’ on the net, is it ok to complete online if the site working again? We haven’t as yet received paper census.

  108. Jenny says:

    If letters and/or forms are only linked to an address and info isn’t shared between departments, how can anyone be fined if they don’t complete the census? As you said, they can’t fine a house so how can they send me, or anyone else under my roof on census night, a fine? They shouldn’t know my personal info, where I am on census night or that I even exist unless I give it to them.

    • No-one can be fined until they are visited by a field officer and refuse to do the Census. They would then be sent a notice of direction to comply with the Census, and fines would apply after a certain time There seems to be a lot of misconceptions about this. Most people are quite happy to complete the Census so it’s not generally an issue.

  109. Phil says:

    Glen I can’t finalise my Census form. There are 3 of us living in the same residence. I am at the “People Away section” but no one was away & I can’t submit. What do I do please.

  110. Candy says:

    Hi! I’m not sure if my census went thru on the internet! Can I just fill out on a friends form as I was over their place on the census night

  111. Gwen Taylor says:

    Hi, a friend lost her login but I was given actual paperwork at our other house, I wasnt there on the night and did oursnonline, can I give her my spare paperwork ?

  112. Di says:

    Hi Glen, I still cannot access the census login page, it comes up as a list, doesn’t load properly, has no login button. Says I need Java but I update java & it makes no difference

    • Most people can access it fine. My only suggestion would be to try clearing your cookies and cache in your browser. But we can’t really give technical help for the Census here. Best to contact the ABS directly.

  113. Paul says:

    Do you have to answer every question or can you leave some blank if you don’t want some info on there? for eg: income

    • Hi Paul, all Census questions are compulsory, except for Religion which is optional. Income is really important for measuring the distribution of inequality across regions. All individual information on the Census form is completely confidential and not shared by the ABS with anyone else. And in any case, income information is only collected in broad ranges, not exact dollar amounts, and it doesn’t equate to taxable income.

  114. Jonathan says:

    This is just a ridiculous mess! Especially for people sharing with flatmates.
    You should have an individual form for every person.
    When data are collected, individuals sharing the same address can be assigned as a ‘household’.
    I could not comprehend why you need to create such unnecessary mess for single people who have to share a unit of accomodation with others simply because they could not afford having their own house (thanks to the sky-high property prices nurtured by our politicians).

    • A household is any group of individuals living together. What you’ve described is a “Group household” and info in this is really important for understanding the role and function of a place, and indeed, the impact of rising housing costs on individuals. I believe in such a circumstance you can ring the ABS for additional login codes which keep your information private from others in the household, or request paper personal forms for some members of the household. You’d need to ring 1300 214 531 for this.

  115. John Paul says:

    Question 18 says to post a query but Glenn’s answers don’t appear to address questions by number—-I had 2 parents, 4 grand parents and 8 great grandparents—just like everyone else—–which ones do you want to know about ?

    • The problem is the numbers on the online Census are different to the numbers on the paper Census (which I only found out after doing my own online!). I assume you’re referring to the Ancestry question. This has ALWAYS been a bit subjective, which is why we did not include it on profile.id for some time. for those born in Australia, we can probably name a dozen different ancestries if we go back far enough. It is really intended to capture data on the broader communities of diverse backgrounds, and more recently arrived migrants have less trouble answering it. It also captures communities such as “Maori” and “Kurdish” which are not well represented by language or birthplace. The notes on the question generally say to go back up to 3 generations, but in a way it’s more about what you “identify” yourself with than any sort of question of genetics.

  116. Anthony says:

    On there website the ABS gives one reason for collecting names is To enhance the value of Census data, by combining it with other national datasets to better inform government decisions in important areas such as health, education, infrastructure and the economy.

    Combining the data with other national datasets? What other Datasets? Are not other government and private agencies bound by the privacy act?

    • They certainly are all bound by the privacy act, and the ABS would never share personal information with any other government department. My understanding is that any linkage to other datasets would be done without reference to names and addresses but only by use of a statistical linkage key, and which would be done automatically and no person within or outside the ABS would have access to names and data. I do know that as an organisation the ABS is more paranoid about privacy and security than anyone I’ve ever met – to the point where some of their datasets are frustratingly less than useful because of the level of confidentiality provisions applied. So I know they take it very seriously and would never share personal information. But for more details on the methodology they are using in this case you would need to contact the ABS.

  117. Andrea says:

    Hi, I still have not received my login/code information. As written above, i should have received this by the 7th AUG at the latest. How do i get this information so i can complete online?

    Thanks

    • Hi Andrea – field officers will be coming around shortly and can hand out paper forms and login codes to anyone who hasn’t received one yet. But you may still want to ring 1300 214 531 and request a form or login information.

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  119. Fifi says:

    Glen, the government/ABS should pay you for the excellent job you have done in answering questions. It highlights just how deficient the process has been with the ABS unable to communicate adequately before, on the day and after the event and lets remember this is the same organisation we are trusting our identity to; answering questions is information gathering; providing name and address is ID checking. If they do not have your name how can they issue a notice to comply?

    • Thanks Fifi! The ABS communication process has not been fantastic, I agree! We are trying to help out as we believe the Census is so important. The ABS has never been terribly good at communicating – but I don’t think this has any impact on the trust that should be placed in them about maintaining privacy. They have never had a breach of individual privacy and take this extremely seriously – in fact regular users of the data like us at .id know how frustrating it is that they make random adjustments and won’t release some important datasets due to the possibility of showing confidential information about individuals.

      I’m not sure whether a notice of direction requires a name or just an address, but it’s certainly the case that fines can’t be issued until after the direction in writing from the Australian Statistician. For the legal points you’d need to contact the ABS directly – but remember the vast majority of people are happy to fill in their Census form.

  120. J.P. says:

    I’m not sure if this has already been asked but we moved into a new rental on the 10th August. We filled in the census form with the code for our previous address as that’s where we stayed that night. This week in our new house we have received a reminder letter for lodging the census. Obviously no one was living in this rental on that date so will they continue to send letters then send fines in the mail? I’m unsure what I should be doing about it as it’s not really my problem since we moved in on the 10th August.

  121. Hang Dai says:

    Hi, I have finished the form and submitted it, and I also got a receipt number from e-mail, but today I got a paper says:” We haven’t yet received a completed Census form for this household.” from Census field officer. Why?

    • Those would have been sent out a few days before, so maybe before you filled it out online. I would just wait, and if you get a visit from a field officer, give them the receipt number, which shows you have completed the Census. That should be the end of it.

  122. Bette Davies says:

    Where do I get an envelope, the Field Officer has not left one and there’s no contact no. anywhere to request a returned envelope. The number I finally rang by looking on internet is not operational during work hours – I cannot ring them during work hours.

  123. L says:

    Just wondering if no one lives at the property at this moment do you still need to do a census for that property???

  124. Kathy says:

    Hello!
    My daughter now lives in Sydney and she still hasn’t received a login or form. She has made several requests. There shouldn’t be any much pressure at the abs by now. Are you concerned, when considering this fiasco as well as the pronouncements of joe hockey last year about the validity of the abs data, decisions like that of abotts to leave an empty seat at the head of the abs for 12 months, airing dumb ideas like voluntary census or changing to a 10 year census – are these all about running the census down and encouraging distrust from the public? For political reasons? It looks to me that this government and mr kalisch don’t want a census. I think they may have done this in Canada.

  125. Jamila says:

    Hi
    I was overseas and I arrived to Australia on the 9th of August at about 10:30 pm and by the time I got home it was past 12 am.
    So do I still need the complete census form?

    Thank you in advance! =)

    • Congratulations! You just made it back in time for the count! Yes, as you were in the country before midnight on the 9th, you need to complete a Census form – and you would complete it at your home, even though you returned just after midnight. The situation is similar to shift workers who complete their forms at home even though they are out at work overnight. If you plane had landed after midnight you would not be included.

  126. Mel Boseggia says:

    Hi Glenn, Ive just recentely managed to get my form filled and submitted but have just realised that i forgot about 2 questions regarding my mums previous addresses. Will this cause us any issues and if so what should I do? Thanks Heaps

    • Hi Mel, If it’s just a couple of questions and the site let you submit with them incomplete I wouldn’t worry too much about it. You could ring the ABS and try to get your form re-opened for you to log in and resubmit, but it may not be worth the hassle. There are always a few people who forget to answer particular questions which is why there is a “Not Stated” category. You’re not going to get a fine for a genuine mistake like this. But if you do want to follow up with the ABS you can ring 1300 214 531.

  127. Pam says:

    What do I do when my 27yr old son did the census for himself and submitted not realising we now can’t log on online because it says it’s been done. How do I do the census for my husband & I now?

  128. Keiran says:

    Hi, I have completed the census on census night however this week I have just moved into my new place and we got a letter saying it was not done. I assume it means the guy who lived here before didn’t do it does it mean we have to do it again?

    • Yes, that’s pretty much it. You won’t have to do it again. Just tell the field officer you filled it in at your previous address. Unfortunately it probably means whoever was there before won’t get counted – but you never know – they may have been away on Census night and filled it in elsewhere.

  129. TM says:

    Hi, we completed the census online complete with receipt b fire the census date. However we’ve since had a paper form delivered claiming nothing was received from us. What do we do?

    • If you’ve got a receipt number give it to the Census Field Officer and they will record it and won’t come back. Did you use the code sent to your address? Or did you fill it in elsewhere? Some addresses have incorrectly received multiple codes, and the Field Officers are still following up on the “other” code.

  130. Hadi Raf says:

    I dont have the addressed envope to post the paper census back
    what address can i use to post it back to ABS ?

  131. Anonymous George says:

    If the ABS were not doing anything subversive with OUR data, then why the need to fine ordinary Australians a $180 per day to capitulate? If they were above board then these type of Draconian measures would not be necessary correct?

    • Hi Anonymous George,

      The ABS have never done anything subversive with the data before, and the privacy is protected by some pretty strong legislation. The fines have always been there as a last resort – that’s not a new thing for this Census – the amount has gone up but that’s inflation for you! Very few people actually end up being fined, and most people are happy to complete the Census – but the option of fines need to be there to ensure near 100% completion. It’s only when Census has close to 100% coverage that the data are very useful – particularly for small population groups, disadvantaged communities and small geographic areas. Those who do end up with a fine are only those who outright refuse to complete the Census. There are no draconian measures being employed this Census – the method of delivery has changed but as far as getting people to complete it, nothing much has changed since previous Censuses.

  132. Tar says:

    Hi Glen, we have 6 members in our household, only 3 members so far have filled out the census. The issue I have is the 3rd one accidentally completed the form & now we can’t access it as it says it’s been finalised… Please help!

    • I think you may need to ring the ABS and get a second code, which they can link to the original one to complete your household. Hopefully their phone lines are a bit less busy now most people have already submitted the Census.

  133. Robert Bellani says:

    I didn’t complete my census form online because it froze so I mailed the paper one instead, is this OK?

  134. Stephen says:

    Hi Glenn hope your day is going well. Glenn would you know what the maximum fine amount can be for not filling in the Census? By way of background we are developing a short film for the Melbourne film festival (comedy) which follows an angry white middle class man who refuses to fill in the Census. The plot centres around our character dodging the field officer ( who catches him) and eventually filling in the Census form useing outlandish ( but hilarious answers) any help would be appreciated cheers Stephen

  135. GM says:

    How can this be an accurate snapshot of australia when the information required for weekly earnings only go up $3000 per week when it is obvious the rich can earn $3000000+ per week is this to protect the privacy of the rich and to keep track of the trash?

    • Thanks for the comment. A lot of the usage of Census data is about targeting services to those in need, so there is less requirement for resolution at the top of the income scale than lower down. The numbers of people on $3m per week would be so small that data would not be high quality anyway (due to confidentiality randomisation) and having such extreme incomes in the list of options would invite those who want to mess up the Census with false information. Also, income is one of the questions people feel most sensitive about, so having detail in the higher ranges would likely generate a higher non-response.

      Also, your comment “keep track of the trash” implies that Census is about individual information. Census is in no way and never was about tracking individuals. Only information in aggregate matters.

  136. Mat says:

    Hi Glenn,

    My girfriend made two mistakes while filling in the online form: she was overseas on the 9th of August and still filled in the form as herself being present on that night in Australia, moreover she didn’t not include me as a household member cause she though that we need to do it separately. What do you suggest?

    Thank you for your help!

    • Hi Mat,

      I wouldn’t worry too much at this late stage. I don’t think you can take back a form submitted – so your girlfriend is in the population now though technically not here. As for yourself, you may want to ring the ABS and request another form or online login (1300 214 531) to cover yourself. They are still open but only for this week before the whole thing closes.

  137. tanya says:

    Hi there.
    My family household completed the Cencus but left my name and details off it as they thought I would do my own.
    Will I get fined if we have completed one as a household? Can they trace my individually or just go by our household?
    I work permanent night shifts, I don’t have time to complete this and would never see a cencus officer even if they did call by

    • Hi Tanya,

      You are very unlikely to be fined as the Census is conducted by household. There are always a few people who slip through the cracks and are missed as you were. That’s what the Post Enumeration Survey is designed to capture. However if you are still keen to be counted (and we’d encourage everyone to be proactive in doing this) there is still time to ring the ABS and get a form connected to the existing family household. Just call the ABS on 1300 214 531.

  138. Lai says:

    Hi Glenn,
    I have a question.
    I am a newly arrive Permanent Resident on August 6. Do I still need to do the census?
    If yes, do you know if I can still participate? Also, how would I know that I am being fined?
    The place where I temporary stay did not include me to their form, because they have submitted theirs early before I arrive.
    Please advise, thanks a lot.

    • Yes, there is still time to participate, and being in Australia on August 9th, you are required to fill in a Census form. Ring the ABS on 1300 214 531 and request a new form attached to the address you stayed. They can probably give you an online login but be quick as they are only open for the rest of this week!

      Glenn

  139. Lai says:

    Thanks Glenn
    I already contacted the census and they inform me that they will send the form to my new address, as the online login was already closed.
    Thanks a lot

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  143. Joe Bloggs says:

    Is it too late to submit the census form? I forgot to post mine but now not sure whether sending it now will trigger a fine??? Thank you!

    • It may well be too late, but it doesn’t hurt to send it in. They are well into processing now and not sure if they are including any new ones, but you certainly wouldn’t get fined for sending it in. At this point, if you were going to get a fine you would have already had a Notice of Direction from the ABS giving you a fixed timeframe to complete or face legal action. If you haven’t got that, no fine will be applicable.

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  146. NILESH says:

    Hi, me and my wife have not filled up online census yet and now it is not allowing us to do it online. Bur before few months, we had also received paper forms in our mail box where we are living on rent, so can we fill this form and send it to them now on the address provided on given envelope? Or do we need to call them and ask for paper base form with any king of code or something? Also wanted to know me and my wife have to fill up separate form or one form for both? Will we get fined for not doing on time? Thank you!

    • You can send this to the address on the envelope, but I think it’s probably too late to actually have your data included in the Census, since processing is now well underway. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to send it in. It’s probably unlikely that you’ll get fined at this stage. If ABS had instigated legal proceedings you would know about it.

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