Not Home On Census Night? The ABS Will Still Find You

Not Home On Census Night? The ABS Will Still Find You

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is expecting to hear from you on Census night — whether you’re home or not. The organisation has devised a comprehensive network of delivery options to ensure everybody does their bit for democracy, not matter where they are. Whether you’re lost on a lonely rural highway or shacked up in an internet-free hotel, the ABS still have ways of making you talk. Here’s what you need to know if you plan to be away on August 9.

Maybe you genuinely have plans on Census night or maybe you’re just trying to dodge the survey to keep your privacy intact. Either way, the ABS has put systems in place to ensure you have no excuse. As the Bureau explains on its website:

Everyone who is in Australia on Census night needs to participate in the Census, no matter where you are. Whether you are an international visitor, travelling to remote areas, simply travelling interstate or staying away from home due to a natural disaster or other reason, arrangements have been made for you to complete the Census.

Here’s a full list solutions provided by the ABS for people who plan to be away on Census night.

What if I’m staying with family or friends?

“If you are staying with family or friends on Census night, make sure you are included on their form.”

What if I’m staying in other accommodation?

“For those staying at an accommodation service such as a hotel, serviced apartment, hostel or caravan park, your accommodation service provider will give you a form when you arrive.”

What if I’m travelling in remote areas?

“Special Field Officers will be found at certain locations in remote areas such as truck stops and caravan parks. They will provide you with a Census form or information on how to complete the Census online. If you are travelling and staying in remote parts of Australia on Census night, and do not receive a Census form from a dedicated pick-up location, please contact the Census Inquiry Service.”

What if I’m away from home due to natural disaster?

“In areas that have experienced natural disasters, the Census will count how many people reside in, or intend to return to, the affected areas. Answers to the question about your usual address will provide accurate information about these areas to inform planning decisions and rebuilding efforts.”

What if I’m an international visitor?

“If you are visiting Australia on Census night, you are required to participate. Your accommodation provider will give you a form or details of how to complete the Census online.”

Unoccupied dwelling or property

“If you have a property or dwelling that you know will be empty on Census night please contact the Census Inquiry Service.”

What if I’m at work on Census night?

“If you’re working on Census night and return home the next day, you should include the details of your usual dwelling on your Census form. You should complete your form as soon as possible.”

As you can see, they’ve pretty much thought of everything. The fact there will be Census-dispensing Bureau agents lurking around remote truck stops and caravan parks is pretty astounding. In fact, the only people who will be be able to use the “away from home” excuse are international travellers:

If you are not in Australia on Census night, you are not required to complete the Census. If you’re overseas on Census night, we use the information collected on overseas departure cards from Australia’s ports and airports to add Australian residents back in – you will still be counted.

[Via ABS]


  • “The organisation has devised a comprehensive network of delivery options to ensure everybody does their bit for democracy…”.
    Census has nothing to do with democracy. The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany had censuses.

    • Davo10101,as an ex-USSR citizen, I can assure you, that they did not fine you or chase you to death for not fulfilling your democratic right. Amazingly, it is a free country that introduced a concept of a compulsory democracy. Or else!

  • Census person came to the door, it turns out we will be away canoeing the week of the census. She marked on her form that we would be away. I asked her what we needed to do, she shrugged her shoulders and said ‘probably you don’t need to do it, my training just said to mark that you will be away”.
    I’ve tried ringing their phone line that is always busy. It is a joke.

  • I’m interested in how the Internet is going to cope with everybody going to one website…..cause that has not worked out well in the past. What happens if the system breaks and nobody can fill in the census?? Also, anyone who has dealt with Centrelink and myGov just knows this is not going to work……….

    • I got the form in the mail and already filled mine out… No way I’ll remember on the day. Not a fan of all the data collection but I don’t feel like trying to dodge census people either

  • All these people trying to avoid it, it happens every time. Just fill it in, it’s important. Don’t complain about the lack of services like public transport or nbn in your area otherwise, the data from census is used to plan these things. As for privacy it hasn’t changed significantly, they always kept the same data just for a shorter time. Bunch of whingers just do your part.

    Oh and you can do it now for Tuesday, did mine last night.

    • The census can achieve all that without having my name and identifying details. I will provide truthful answers but my name won’t be right and my date of birth will be a bit off too.

  • What if I’m in an unoccupied dwelling or property

    Impossible. You can only ever not be in an unoccupied dwelling.

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