Back to All News

Greens will legislate to dismiss fines and save census 'snapshot'

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 9 Aug 2016

With the census website in meltdown, the Greens have called on the ABS to immediately confirm no fines will be levied on those unable to complete the survey. 

In addition, the Greens will introduce amendments when parliament returns, to ensure that people acting to protect their privacy in response to the census will not be fined, and to prevent the ABS from entrenching individual 'linkage keys' that track every citizen for their lifetime.

"The ABS and the government have ignored expert warnings for months, acted dismissively over the concerns people raised, and find themselves on the eve of the census facing widespread civil disobedience as people act to protect their own privacy," Australian Greens Co-Deputy Leader and Communications Spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said today.

"I also hope the Government will be seeking a refund from the company that undertook load-testing on the ABS servers, which appear to have collapsed under the weight of people attempting to complete the document online.

"Given that once again this government has failed to stand up for the privacy of Australians, it is clear they can not be trusted to protect people, so people have felt compelled to take action. No-one should be punished for that.

"When parliament resumes, unless the ABS has fundamentally changed its approach, we will introduce amendments to the Census Act to prohibit the creation of the linkage keys that are set to transform the census from a once every five years snapshot of Australia into lifetime surveillance.

"It was only by conducting an unaccountable internal process and a sneaky pre-Christmas announcement that the ABS was able to persuade itself that this was a good idea. Now the integrity of the census itself is on the line.

"Australians deserve better from their government and their government departments. We're aiming to get these amendments debated so that future governments can not fail Australians in this way ever again," Senator Ludlam concluded.

Back to All News