WELL, census night has been and gone, so it’s probably safe to come out from under the bed now.
Do we need to be worried about this latest census – there’s certainly been an unusual amount of comment about how this one’s shaped up.
Much of that has been due to the Bureau of Statistic’s clumsy and blase way of handling the significant changes in this census and the framework around it. It and the minister failed to prepare the public for the new rules that say we must give our names and addresses to the government which will then keep this data for four years, instead of the usual 18 months.
Did they really think this little nicety would go unnoticed and unremarked?
If so it’s a prime example of the aloofness of government and why it needs to be called out every time we meet it.
The casualness with which bureaucrats have shifted the bounds of privacy is quite stunning.
It is “privacy creep”. First they wanted our names and addresses and now it’s for longer. What next?
It has taken this furore for me to discover why they need our names in the first place. An economist speaking on the radio said it was so the mortality rates of the indigenous community could be measured against the wider population – to help Close the Gap. Fair enough. At least now I know why.
One would hope the taking of names at all is only a passing thing. The hacking of the department’s database is not a surprise and just demonstrates how little we can trust bureaucrats and their bosses. ++++++++ Speaking of casual abuse, one wonders whether the climate change activists who this week attempted to use Port Douglas as a setting for an international publicity stunt ever thought once about the potential fallout on the local economy.