Thursday, July 12, 2018

Must not ask people their religion

Australians have voiced their concerns about one of the most controversial questions on the 2016 Census - with calls for it to be banned from the next survey.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics took feedback from the public earlier this year, with the largest complaint being centred on the 'religion' section of the survey.

Consistent feedback gathered by the ABS said the question was leading and assumes that the participant actually has a religion.

The question itself, which was the only optional question in the entire survey, asked: 'What is the person's religion?'

ABS House in the Australian Capital Territory compiled feedback to make changes to the 2021 Census

In the 2016 Census, 30 per cent of people marked that they have no religion.

But National Secular Lobby ambassador and former senator Chris Schacht said he thinks a change in the wording would produce a more accurate result.

'There's only one reason Australia's 'No Religion' score is half that of other Western nations. We're not more religious; the Census question is simply wrong,'Mr Schacht told

'Evidence shows that many people just tick the religion they were taught as a child, even though those early beliefs have long since lapsed.'

Other Western countries recorded much higher rates of non-belief, with 52 per cent for New Zealand and 54 per cent for England.

The ABS' website says: 'Suggestions made and investigated for 2016 included using two-part filter questions, changes or additions to wording, and placing the 'no religion' response as first in the list of options.'

An example of a two-part filter question would be: 'Does the person practice a religion? If no proceed to the next question, if yes mark an option below.'

For 2016, the ABS moved ‘no religion’ to be the first response category in the question, which was the approach already taken in a number of other countries

This isn't the first time that the ABS has taken feedback on board regarding the religion question.

The 2016 Census saw the option 'no religion' move to the top of the choices.

The Census is taken every five years, with the next being in 2021.



Spurwing Plover the Fighting Shorebird said...

Liberals want to know everything they stick in their noses

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between 'having' a religion, and 'practicing' a religion.
What is the intent of the question? Is it to determine whether people have religious beliefs, or whether they attend Church?

Anonymous said...

All religions are ridiculous !