Submission to Senate inquiry into Census 2016

In the lead-up to the 2016 Census, DRW raised concerns around the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ choice to make mandatory the collection, retention and protection of citizen’s names and addresses.

After the repeated failure of the Census website on actual Census night, DRW published an open letter calling for a public inquiry to take place.

The Australian Senate heard that call and established an inquiry into the 2016 Census.

We asked DRW members to provide their input into our submission, and we are pleased to provide that submission to the Senate Committee.

You can read the full submission here, including the key recommendations put forward by DRW:

  1. The ABS and the Australian government should provide a full and open report into the technological and human error causes of the 2016 Census system failure
  2. The ABS should provide a full and open account of all privacy complaints received in relation to the 2016 Census
  3. The ABS and Australian government should provide a report on the services provided by private corporations for the 2016 Census, including the tender process, the terms of engagement and outcomes arising from the take-down on 9 August 2016
  4. The ABS and Australian government must ensure that all future decision-making about data collection, storage and use is conducted transparently and involves actively soliciting community participation
  5. The ABS must adopt best practice technical requirements for collection, storage and use of data, including mandatory notification of data breaches
  6. The ABS should revert to its pre-2016 position in respect of the retention of names and addresses, and allow provision of names and addresses to be at the discretion of individual citizens
  7. The Australian government should offer an amnesty for any person who files a late or incomplete census