If you didn't fill out your 2016 Census, here's what you need to know.

I’m going to tell you a story about my friend Lucy.

You see, Lucy was very excited about the Census.

One of Lucy’s favourite things is research. Another of her favourite things is history. And the Census contributes to both of those things at the same time. 

She couldn’t even think about the Census without getting butterflies.

LISTEN: Mia Freedman, Monique Bowley and I discuss the Census on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues below. 

On August 9 last year, Lucy ran home to do her Census. She had snacks. She had a comfy seat. She had the heater on. She was ready to stand up and be COUNTED like the model Australian citizen she is.

And then everything fell to shit.

After 45 minutes of filling out the lengthy form, poor Lucy pressed ‘submit’. But it didn’t work. 

That night came to be known as #CensusFail.

Malcolm Turnbull seemed to be the only person who successfully submitted his form, and Lucy stomped her feet yelling, “BUT HE ISN’T INDICATIVE OF THE AVERAGE AUSTRALIAN.” And, of course, she was right.

Image via iStock.

But then Lucy got side-tracked by funny #CensusFail memes. For the next few weeks, she heard whispers about having until September to complete her Census, but she kept forgetting the date and to be honest, her Census excitement had very much waned.

She had mustered all the Census-directed-energy she had on August the goddamn 9th. She had already SAT THE EXAM. And due to a processing error, she was meant to do it all over again in her own time.

She'd do it, she kept telling herself. Not now, though... tomorrow...

Well, now it's the end of June 2017 and Lucy a little bit forgot to do her Census. She feels guilty but also she just really wants to know if she should expect a fine or not.


Also, there's something I should tell you about Lucy.

Image via Miramax.

Lucy is actually me and I'm very sorry but I forgot to do my Census and everyone in my office has lectured me on it and I repent.

To the dismay of my colleagues, it appears (and I say that tentatively) there will be no fine.

In early March, the ABC wrote, "What fine? No-one yet prosecuted over 2016 Census 'boycott'."

Originally, reports claimed anyone who failed to complete their Census form would face penalties of up to $180 for each day past the Census period.

In September, the ABS said that more than 6,700 people had failed to complete the Census, which, to be honest, is far less than I would have estimated.

According to James Purtill, "If you haven't yet heard from the ABS - five months after the Census date - there's a good chance you have avoided a fine."

LISTEN: WOOOHOO. To celebrate, you can listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud, here. Post continues below. 

Mamamia reached out to the ABS in regards to potential fines, and an ABS spokesperson provided the following statement:

"The ABS has no power to issue fines or prosecute any individual. The ABS may refer an individual’s case to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP). The decision to issue a fine or prosecute any individual rests with the courts.

The ABS will publish the number of referrals to the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) in its Annual Report."


It's looking good.

In all seriousness, though, you should definitely always do your Census and Lucy is very sorry and will never, ever make the same mistake.

She also loves the ABS and owes them one.

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