The Australian 2016 Census, now with prompts from Talking Heads

Census can handle 1000000 pings per hr

It’s time to play your part in shaping the future of Australia by filling out the Australian 2016 Census of Population and Housing. Since the first national census in 1911, the census has played an important role in charting Australia’s history and shaping its future.

Times have changed since that first census in 1911, and this year’s census will reflect those changes. Firstly, it can be done online. And secondly, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is bored with hearing the same old analytics – numbers of occupants, occupations and incomes, BOR-ING, so this year, we have structured the survey like a game of Jeopardy!™.  Below we have provided you with lyrics from Talking Heads songs. For each lyric you must respond by devising a suitable census question.

We encourage creativity, however please be aware that wrong answers may incur a fine of up to $180 per day. For those filling out a paper form, please use only a black, ballpoint pen to write your answers.

Census experiencing an outage


psycho killer  Please enter your password

Say something once, why say it again? Enter your password again for verification

psycho killer  Enter your password again for verification. 

Television Man  What is your name?

I’m not lost but I don’t know where I am. What is your address?

Give us time to work it out. How many people are present at this address on 9 August 2016?

Who took the money, who took the money away? Do you agree that large corporations deserve tax cuts? What is your annual income before tax?

I turn myself around, I’m moving backwards and forwards, I’m moving twice as much as I was before.  How often do you engage in physical exercise?

I’m driving in circles, come to my senses sometime  Do you live in Canberra?

Census error code 9 -the system is busy

People on their way to work say baby what did you expect? Are you ever confused or caught out by the MYKI card system?

I feel nice when I sing this song, and I don’t mind, whatever happens is fine. Do you enjoy your life? Are you on any medication?

Come on, come on, I go up and down, I like this curious feeling.  Do you enjoy sex? Are you satisfied with the new speed humps your local council has installed in your street?

Watch out, you might get what you’re after. If you were British, would you have voted for Brexit?

What’s the matter with him? He’s alright!  Did you agree with the critics of the latest Jason Bourne film?

the world was moving and she was floating above it and she was   Are you aware that former Liberal Speaker, Brownyn Bishop, billed taxpayers for a chartered helicopter to fly 80km from Melbourne to Geelong?


Census site - there will be no fines for completing after Aug 9


Sometimes the world has a load of questions. If you were former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, would you have chosen a different method of answering this question?

uh-oh, uh-oh, here we go again, sometimes I don’t know what I’m saying  Surely no-one can be the suppository of all wisdom?

Qu’est-ce que c’est?  Did you use a MAC to fill in the online survey? Please locate a PC and start again.


Census Wikipedia entry on Aug 9


For those playing at home, the Australian Census 2016 was supposed to take place on 9 August but, well, computers collectively said no. The Australian Bureau of Statistics website apparently crashed (see screenshots above) and people were unable to submit their surveys. There were concerns ahead of time about the security of data and there are now rumours that the data has already been hacked, but because I have not read anything more than headlines, I can’t verify if that is true. I’m just glad I didn’t panic about getting it done on 9 August. See this article for more details: Australia’s Population Now 48, ABS confirms

Leave a comment


  1. weebluebirdie

     /  August 10, 2016

    And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack with a beautiful hunting dog and driving a large pick up truck. And you may ask yourself, hell, how did I get here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have you imbibed more than 2 standard drinks in the last 24 hours?

      Liked by 1 person

      • weebluebirdie

         /  August 10, 2016

        eh?? Nope. Presume you mean the alcoholic variety. Am presently sipping on Sooper Hellthy Smooothy. I was just joining in the Talking Heads vibe and re-wrote one of their numbers.


      • Haha, yes, and in response I was trying for the appropriate Australian Census 2016 question, as prompted by your chosen Talking Heads lyrics. I went for the “can’t remember if this is your house – then you must be very drunk” route, admittedly a lazy option, when those lyrics really warrant a question that probes the depths of a full existential crisis.

        I did mean the alcoholic variety of drink, although I do also take an interest in whether people drink coffee. I’ve found that if someone doesn’t drink alcohol OR coffee, they are not to be trusted. Or they are too boring to bother with. One or the other. I’m aware that you give coffee the appreciation it deserves though, so I have no such fears on your behalf.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Much more fun than your average census 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is genius, B. You’re making too make sense. Stop making…sense. I’m thinking the method would be transferable to different countries. By countries, I mean Ireland, the most ego-centric one on Earth with that worrying mix of a big ego and low self-esteem. We need to get beneath it. Any suitable Talking Heads lyric to address this perhaps?


    • Why thank you! I wrote that in a mad hurry, desperate to publish something this month other than lengthy comments on your blog. At the expense of writing that post, my family got no dinner last night, because I wrote till 5 and immediately left to go to a meeting, so that post just got published with whatever amount of sense was in it at the time, which was not much, I thought.

      For Ireland, and it’s ego problems (your diagnosis!), I would prescribe some lyrics from one of my favourite Talking Heads songs,(along with at least 10 others) – Slippery People: What about the time you were rollin’ over, fell on your face, you must’ve been having fun. Walk lightly! Think of a time. You best believe, this thing is real.

      Come on, Ireland. It’s all fun and games when you’re down at the pub with yer mates, but don’t forget, stuff is real.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Slippery People – that’s who the majority like to vote in for government. Best not confuse them. How about Road to…This must be the…Born Under..Ah they’ll make martyrs of themselves whatever one they’re given.


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