27 June 2017
Transcript - #2017037, 2017

2016 Census pre-data release interview, Macquarie Radio

SUBJECTS: 2016 Census data

JOURNALIST:

[INAUDIBLE]

MICHAEL McCORMACK:

What they can expect is very detailed community level data on all things related to population, housing, income, migration, language, education, religion, family structure, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin, there’s much, much more. There is in fact 68 million facts in 2.8 million tables. It’s a huge logistical task the census and it provides a snapshot, and a very high quality snapshot of Australia as it is, or as it was, in August 2016 and gives us a good overview of how it’s changed and how it’s diversified from the previous census which was conducted of course in 2011.

JOURNALIST:

[INAUDIBLE]

MICHAEL McCORMACK:

I’m assured by the Australian Statistician David Kalisch that we have got high quality data from this year’s Census.  I’m assured that the response rate from households was comparable to the 2006 and the 2011 Censuses. We all know there were a lot more Census forms done online last year as opposed to back in 2011. It’s a significant increase in the amount done online. The fact they were done online and the fact that the very nature and makeup of how the online form was structured enables even higher quality data to be keyed in as it were for last year’s Census. More than 4.9 million Australian households completed their census online and that actually represents a shift of 2.2 million more households participating online than was the case in 2011. So I’m told, I’m absolutely assured by the ABS that it’s a high quality Census. It’s comparable to International Standards and at 10 o’clock today the ABS statistician David Kalisch is going to release all the data and I like the other 24 million or however many Australians the population figure is, are all very much looking forward to it.

JOURNALIST:

[INAUDIBLE]

MICHAEL McCORMACK:

Some people fill their census form out just prior to the census night, last year it was August 9, that’s always been the case. They are asked to fill it out as to what they would be doing on that particular Tuesday. And many, in fact you could argue most people, and this was the case in previous Censuses as well, often fill their forms out the weeks following the Census. So you know there’s always quite a lag time in many people filling out their Census, that’s understandable and just providing that people filled out their Census with the knowledge as to what they were doing on the Census night, that’s always been the case. That’s nothing different last year and as it was in 2011, or indeed what was the case in 2006. You could argue it’s the Census month period, there are several weeks following on from the Census night that people are able to get their forms in. That’s always been the case.

JOURNALIST:

[INAUDIBLE]

MICHAEL McCORMACK:

The Prime Minister has made it quite clear that the Liberal-Nationals went to the polls last year and said that there would be a plebiscite on the same sex marriage issue. He’s not swayed from that view. Christopher Pyne expressed an opinion and that’s fine. Christopher Pyne is the Leader of Government Business in the House, he is a very senior minister in the cabinet and there are opinions about same sex marriage in the Government just as there are right throughout the Commonwealth. So that is why, we as the Government went to the last election saying that if re-elected there would be a plebiscite. Unfortunately that wasn’t carried by the Senate. The only people that are holding up a vote, a national vote on same-sex marriage, is in fact Labor and the Greens. They say that they’re all in favour of it, but if they’re that in favour of it then let’s have the plebiscite. Let’s decide it once and for all and let’s move on.

JOURNALIST:

[INAUDIBLE]

MICHAEL McCORMACK:

That’s for Mr Abbott to decide. We are a very broad church, we all have different opinions. The one thing about the Liberal-Nationals I will say is that if you do have an opinion which perhaps differs from others within the party, we don’t expel them. We don’t say to them ‘you are no longer a part of the Government, part of the party or part of the Coalition’. Those on the other side in the Labor Party, if you have a differing view and express it by a vote or indeed sometimes by actually expressing your view very loudly and earnestly in public, you’re asked to step down and ultimately if you cross the floor, you’re banished from the party. We don’t have that undemocratic way of doing things in the Liberal-Nationals and there are on same sex marriages as there are on many issues, sometimes a divergence of opinion. That’s healthy for democracy and I know that under us, that things happen, things get done. We’re builders. We certainly produced a very good Budget. That’s the sort of thing I want to talk about. I want to talk about the lowest company tax rate since 1940, that being 27.5%. I’m getting on with the job of talking about the instant asset write-off extension by 12 months and today, I’m getting on the job of talking about the Census which I think is a fantastic thing, because it’s important for governments, industry and stakeholders to make informed decisions on very important policy matters. The important policy matters that I think more people are talking about in the pubs and clubs than some of the other issues which are swirling around in the media at the moment. That’s the sort of things like the cost of living, road, rail, infrastructure, health and education funding. They’re all the sorts of things that are covered off in the census.

JOURNALIST:

[INAUDIBLE]