It's August 9, 2016. The government has been running a scare campaign for weeks, turning a mundane form-filling event into a nation-wide law and order operation.
Afraid of prosecution (and simply to do their civic duty), millions go online as instructed on August 9, 2016 to fill out the Australian Census of Housing and Population.
Shortly after this missive went live, the Census site went down like a boxer with a glass jaw. For reasons yet to be fully explained, rather than inform the public that the site had been deliberately removed from public access, the ABS continued to issue instructions through social media channels to complete the survey.
As a result, much of the country spent hour after hour staring at error messages, creating a groundswell of frustration in what was a very public demonstration of just how fragile and unprepared the Census systems were for the task for which they were created.
This submission is dedicated to the over 500 people who contributed their experiences to the #CensusFail survey. But the #CensusFail issue doesn't begin on August 9, 2016. The real story of how Australia's Census became a source of national outrage has a surprisingly long history.
Reaching back through the decades from the campaign against inclusion of names in the 1971 census the Australia Card protests of the 80's, through the Save our Census review of the 90's and culminating in the last minute decision to de-anonymise the 2016 Census, this submission provides an overview of the epic struggle between the populace and our government over the right to decide what personal information we share and the uses to which it is put.