OUR SAY: Government's Census failure
THE rollout of electronic lodgement of Census papers has been handled in an appalling manner.
The government has used a stick in the form of $180 daily fines for late lodgement with no carrot that clearly explains the value of the collection of data and its use.
It is a bit rich to expect the public to embrace quickly an entirely different lodgement process via a media about which considerable suspicion exists as a consequence of regular breaches of security surrounding everything from bank accounts to key government documents.
Census phone lines are running hot with calls from people concerned about the penalty they may face as a result of their individual circumstance on census night.
The Government is setting itself up for a massive fail which in all likelihood will expose the inadequacy of network capacity across the country.
It is not difficult to imagine people sitting down on Tuesday night to dutifully fill in the online Census forms for fear of $180 daily fines only to be presented with a frozen screen.
The fiasco that followed Queensland local government elections with people fined for not voting, who had in fact registered and fulfilled their obligations, only adds to distrust.
The regular collection of data is meant to help inform policy and to target service delivery across Australia. The reality is that ultimately those decisions are more heavily weighted by political and sector interest than a fair delivery of minimum standards of service.