Dispelling myths about Arabic speakers – The Optus billboard

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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6 Responses

  1. Great blog Glenn – true mythbusting – what we need in these times when many people get their “facts” from the tabloid press or in 140 characters off Twitter.

  2. ER says:

    can someone please forward this to Pauline Hanson?!

  3. Agree with Simone – a good set of facts and figures to use as needed.

  4. Jeremy says:

    Glenn, the more stats like this the public are made aware of, the better off we’ll all be. So thanks.

    But hiding certain stats can be just as bad as highlighting others. E.g. what percentage of terrorists are Christian vs Buddhist vs Hindu vs Muslim? Does any one religion single itself out as being a potential threat?

    Perhaps stats like that can be automatically fed into the dept. of immigration to limit who is let in, free of any bias. It’s all about the numbers, right? Using numbers in that way can’t possibly be deemed as xenophobic – it’s just the facts.

    • Thanks for the comment! Of course I don’t have those figures on me. The perception at the moment is certainly that a few fundamentalist groups within Islam are the major potential threat, as I’m sure you’re aware.

      You would need to define “terrorist” of course.There are plenty of grey areas. Let’s not forget that Australia’s worst mass murderer was completely home grown and not religiously motivated.

      But let’s say you did that, and found that 50% of people on terrorist watch lists were Muslims. Does this warrant screening out ALL people of that particular faith from our immigration numbers? What if that represented only 0.01% of all Muslims, vs 0.005% of all other religions (and I don’t have the numbers but suspect you’ll find it’s somewhere in that order)? I think that would be grossly unfair to the vast majority who become tarnished with the same brush.

      Also, this is a religion we’re talking about, and certain fundamentalist cults within it, at that. As I believe happened in the billboard example, it often gets conflated with a race (or a language). Screening people on the basis of religion won’t work because anyone who was truly motivated towards murder and terror could easily lie about their religion – it’s not a genetic characteristic after all – I can’t tell a Muslim from a Christian, Buddhist or atheist simply by appearance, when you take away obvious religious accoutrements like the burka.

      Another good thing to remember is that despite all the doom and gloom, we still live in the most peaceful and safest time there has ever been in history.

  5. Andrew McLaren says:

    This article is far too important to be confined to id.com. Please publish it to a wider audience.

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