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Census

I, and also on behalf of Senators Lambie and Xenophon, move: That the Senate— (a) notes:

   (i) the technical failures of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) website on Census night, 9 August 2016, prevented thousands of people completing the Census,

   (ii) subsequent attempts to address the technical failures further added to confusion and impacted public confidence in the Census process,

   (iii) the Census website was offline for several days after census night, and sporadically offline in the following weeks, and

   (iv) thousands of Australians were unable to complete the Census, and thousands of Australians were reluctant to do so due to privacy concerns; and

(b) calls on the Government to direct the ABS to issue a statement declaring that no Australians will be fined for failing to complete the Census.

I look forward to the unanimous support of the chamber.

Senator McGRATH

I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT

Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator McGRATH

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is a respected independent Commonwealth agency as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975. The Australian Statistician is responsible for the conduct of the census under the Census and Statistics Act 1905, including issuing fines. The statistician and other ABS employees have repeatedly stated that no Australians will be fined if they are willing to participate in the census, which the government encourages all Australians to do.

The PRESIDENT

The question is that the motion moved by Senator Ludlam be agreed to.

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