Most of us will say that a 'good society' is one in which people have access to essentials, like food, health, shelter, education and employment, as well as areas that enrich our lives, like culture, recreation and healthy personal relationships.
But how do we go about measuring these things if we don't have an evidence base to compare against?
Specifically, how do we know if we have adequate access to housing, if our living arrangements are changing, or if we have access to employment?
We rely on a number of ways of answering these questions, and the Census is at the top of the list. However, in Australia, our ability to answer these questions is under threat.
The ABS decision to keep name-identified data longer has sparked a protest about 'Big Brother' implications.
While these concerns about protecting our privacy are serious and important, very little is actually changing with how the ABS are conducting the Census, notes .id Insight"Providing demographic and economic information in the Census is a central part of participating in our democracy and expressing our community mindedness is a great tradition in Australia and New Zealand, so we should be very careful not to do anything to undermine this essential resource," .id Insight says.