16 replies

  1. An obvious one: why only male/female?
    Plus everything people have been saying about disability.
    And why only two ancestries? Mine are so mixed that I didn’t really know what to put. I was OS last time and don’t remember what I have said in the past.
    In any case: as a nerd, I am totally looking forward to seeing the results.

  2. My father filled ours out. He said he was surprised there wasn’t anything on sexuality on there.
    I agree about the gender thing too. I just filled out my online tax thingy, and I filled out some forms for centrelink today too – both asked me about my gender and gave me only two options. I just don’t understand why they even need to know (aside from identification purposes – but surely the other information they have is enough).

  3. Thanks for this, tigtog.
    I was unimpressed that there was a simple question about whether you had or had not cared for a child in the past week, without a question about the number of hours. In tandem with a question about the number of hours spent in unpaid domestic labour that didn’t have childcare on the list of things to include, it really disappears one of the largest chunks of unpaid labour in our society. This is how the Miranda Devines of this world then get to write about how there isn’t that big a gap between men and women’s work hours.
    On the ancestries question, you’d think it would be interesting in itself to see what proportion of the nation has highly mixed ethnicity. They’ve missed their chance to know whether, say, 30% list only one, while 20% list three or more and suchlike, which would tell us a lot about the way we are living right there.

  4. ‘For each female, how many babies has she ever given birth to?’ Most awkward phrasing ever.

  5. Also annoyed at the truly limited number of relationship types available for subsequent “people”.
    e.g. I filled out as person 1, my housemate filled out as person 2, my housemate’s partner filled out as person 3. Yet person 2 could only have a partnership with person 1…? seriously? (ultimately, ze ended up putting in the “other relationship with person 1″ free text field, “partner of person 2″.)
    Not only does it make it impossible to register a poly relationship, but even making the most conservative assumptions about the household, there are sharehouses with multiple sets of couples living in them, HELLO.
    Also, yeah, +1 to the comments above, too. Grump.

  6. I think they should have had an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander option under the parentage section. I know it was a section all by itself, but it just seemed to erase them at the parentage bit.
    Also echoing Stella Young on Twitter – why not have a ‘are you living with a disability’ check box?

  7. Hear hear Mindy – I’m spitting chips that they’re only counting carers (and not even that, not properly) instead of PWD. Just yet another nail in the PWD-erasure coffin. We have no proper research on how many PWD there are in Australia and what accommodations we all need – and here’s an amazing opportunity to count us – but only PWD who need daily human carers are going to count. Not even PWD who use assistance dogs will count, PWD who use mobility devices, anybody else… we’re all irrelevant.
    If anyone reports on these results as if they represent the actual number of PWD in Australia, I will shout at them. Loudly.

  8. No option for home education. Seriously? My children are not fulltime students in an other non-government institution, but according to the ABS that’s the best answer for home ed families.
    Also, trying to work out the relationship of our housemate’s children to me as person one was fun!

  9. Someone just posted a link to the NZ census disability question on Stella Young’s RampUp post:

    ”16. Mark as many spaces as you need to answer this question. Does a health problem or a condition you have (lasting 6 months or more) cause you difficulty with, or stop you from:
    – seeing, even when wearing glasses or contact lenses
    – hearing, even when using a hearing aid
    – walking, lifting, or bending
    – using your hands to hold, grasp, or use objects
    – learning, concentrating, or remembering
    – communicating, mixing with others, or socialising
    or – no difficulty with any of these
    17. Do you have a long-term disability (lasting 6 months or more) that stops you from doing everyday things other people can do?
    – yes
    – no”

    What I find – interesting? Disappointing? About these questions it that they are purely interested in impairment, and squarely located within a medical model. There is no acknowledgement of disability imposed by inaccessible environments – one might try to interpret question 17 that way, but coming out of question 16 I’m finding it very hard to get that interpretation. The problems are located in sensory or motor or cognitive systems, and not within rigid communication structures or barrier-filled environments.
    Say, for example, that you have a mobility disability that you use aids for, that you don’t consider your mobilisation method “difficult” so long as you have your aids and can afford them etc, and that within your particular accessible home and suburb and workplace you are able to achieve everything that anyone else can achieve. What do you answer?

  10. When the “relationship to person number one” thing gets difficult to answer I think the idea is to start a new census form for that grouping of people. This was easy online, but not so easy if you only got one physical form from the census person/in the mail box. I don’t know how one is supposed to know that they would encounter that difficulty and get two forms in advance.
    Interesting to see that about 30% of census were done online. Online only in the future should allow for a broader range of questions, it will also allow for more frequent censuses. Every five years seems a bit sparse these days.

  11. Also interesting the only question addressing transport Q45 was “how did you get to work last Tuesday?”. I mean really, the only reason that you use transport is to get to work?? And only one day, and as it happened a day I did not work. If they surveyed the last week they would have got 4 different answers for the various days I worked. What a waste of a question, very little help in determining transport needs of an area.
    However in reply to Sam I would have to say that even in the middle of Brisbane with our mobile internet provider filling in the census online would have been a nightmare of dropped connections and slow response times because of peak load.

  12. I sympathise Janet, 3G mobile broadband is the pits for real computers.

  13. Janet’s point has reminded me of how problematic the questions of transport were. (Less of a concern than the above identified issues such as gender and disability, but nonetheless problematic if the stats are used to identify the transport needs of a community). A question asked how many registered vehicles you have at home: that would be three. Oh motorcycles and scooters excluded (why exclude them if they’re registered?), so one then. Next question asked how you got to work, well husband and I rode the motorbikes that you (census people) don’t want to know about. But I also drove my car, cos getting to work involves dropping the kids at care/school first. Motorcyclists organized ‘ a ride your bike to work’ event for Tuesday so as a way of countering the exclusion of motorbikes from the registered vehicle question. As Janet noted, that only works for those that went to work on Tuesday.

  14. My husband ran to work*. He had to mark “other” and was quite miffed. I was surprised it was so simple, as in dumb. Surely these concerns came up last time too? You’d think they’d have found some solutions in the last decade.
    *not a work-enthusiasm thing.

  15. The work questions were really difficult to answer for my partner because He contracts out doing different computer stuffs. So He doesn’t have an employer as such (He works for Himself) but He also doesn’t have a proper business name and address. Ended up putting His name and address for business name and address.

  16. I agree with all the above issues, and then to add insult to injury, on the e-form you only got 160 characters to provide feedback!

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