The ABS's new and improved 'hack proof' data collection method
After this year’s census, The Spear is left feeling a lot like a 16 year old girl the morning after prom-night. The ABS told The Spear they loved him. They told The Spear they needed him. They told The Spear he could trust them and that they would never betray him. And it all ended in tears.
The Spear feels like a putz. His household dutifully completed its census duties early and honestly, before the gargantuan ineptitude of the ABS and its systems were made manifestly clear on Tuesday night. He can almost hear the statisticians at the ABS sniggering as they review The Spear’s lone complete entry in their systems, “Oh my God, some doofus actually fell for it.”
There has always been an asymmetry in responsibility between government and citizen. As The Spear walks along the platform of his local train station, the speakers dutifully prompt him to “exercise extreme care, surfaces may be slippery when wet.” So while we, mere average citizens, cannot be trusted to walk for more than a few meters without falling over and cracking our big stupid heads, the government acts as if it is infallible. “We make the rules, and we get to decide just who is breaking them. Oh, and by the way, it’s up to you to understand and comply with them all, no matter how convoluted and inane. Good luck with that. Suckers.”
So while we were all threatened with $180/day fines if we didn’t complete the census on time, the government agencies themselves seemed to suffer a lack of imagination when brainstorming the possible negative outcomes from a failed census, if it was given much thought at all. Only after the fact is the PM now grandiosely proclaiming that ‘heads will roll’.
Mr Turnbull may want to first check with The Fair Work Commission to make sure that those meeting the guillotine aren’t likely to object on the basis of race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, age, mental or physical disability, marital status, family or carers responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction, or social origin, or because they were temporarily absent from work because they were sick or injured, or because they joined or did not join a trade union or participated in industrial activities, or because they exercised or proposed to exercise a workplace right.
He wouldn’t want to be responsible for creating the wrong impression, now would he?