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On February 20th we reported on the latest gross invasion of privacy by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as they sought to interrogate one of our team on his family’s entire financial situation. After taking advice from Civil Liberties Australia we concluded that passive resistance was the only realistic way forward. This is what happened:
REPORT of an ABS interview, re the Financial/Utilities spending survey: Date: 28 February 2012
We have just had our interrogation – 1hr 10mins in all.
Unfortunately the tactic of videoing it, and having a lawyer present (a relative) didn’t work in scaring them off as it did for the couple in the recent article in The Australian
To be fair on the chap they sent us, he was quite reasonable, unlike the wannabe SS officer they had sent to intimidate us initially. As a result we were able to answer “I’d rather not disclose” to all questions relating to income and assets, without any problems.
I did disclose the answers to the utility bills questions – those seem to be the major emphasis of the survey – with the interviewer indicating that the ABS is being paid for the info by the utility companies, I suspect to ascertain just how far they will eventually be able to squeeze us with the carbon tax.
Though we referred to ourself as Mr & Mrs X, it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to work out our name through the electoral role and hence it is a massive breach of personal financial security on top of the civil liberties issue.
The interviewer was saying that the ABS Health survey is very intrusive and they are (rightly) having some push back regarding urine samples and wearing a pedometer for a week!
My advice to others who get door stepped with this financial survey or, worse still, the health survey is to first try the put them off tactics (video) and if not answer “Won’t disclose” to anything relating to income and assets.
The East German government would have been proud of the ABS.