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Census data likely to be useless claim Labor

POINTING FINGER: Andrew Leigh.
POINTING FINGER: Andrew Leigh. MICK TSIKAS

THE reporting period for the 2016 Australian Census has ended with an undercount rate of 5%, sparking a savage attack on the Turnbull government by shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh.

Describing it as the worst Census ever, Mr Leigh said that since

1971 the average Census undercount rate had been 1.9% and the worst was 2.7% in 1976 and 2006.

"The more households are missed in the Census, the less useful the data be- comes," he said.

"The Abbott-Turnbull government left the position of chief statistician unfilled for nearly a year, attempted to cut the Census, appointed three ministers in a year who ignored the Census, and then were surprised when the Census went wrong.

"In the end, the Census debacle is the responsibility of the Prime Minister. The Census is one of Malcolm Turnbull's biggest stuff- ups."

Mr Leigh said Canada had just reported its highest response rate ever with its 2016 Census, carried out primarily online, achieving a response rate of 98.4%.

"Australians have a right to know how many extra taxpayers' dollars has the government had to spend above the initial Census 2016 budget in order to rescue it," he said.

"How many extra hours have Census field officers had to waste repeatedly visiting the homes of people who couldn't complete the Census online because the site crashed on Census night?"

Topics:  census, census debacle, editors picks, fines, labor


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