Climate Change, Marriage Equality and Basic Human Rights. Oh My!

Aaaaah, Australia. The wide brown land for me…



I’m a white Australia who has the luck of being born to a family with at least three previous generations who were also born in Australia. I am, however, still female.

That means my uterus is not always mine to govern. My pay is not the same as a male counterpart. The fact that I am highly likely to experience sexual harassment (or worse) at the hands of a colleague at my place of employ doesn’t even begin to tell you how work isn’t always a safe place for someone like me.

Sure, I get to experience a longer life, and I can hope to  spend that time just living life, right? Oh. No?

Australian Bureau of Statistics 4125.0


Well, at least I’m not likely to be killed by my partner. No? Wrong again? Gods be damned!

It could always be worse.

I could be gay and unable to marry my same-sex partner, instead of bisexual and in a heterosexual-presenting relationship.

Or a migrant, instead of born here.

Or someone seeking asylum, instead of safe and relatively free from oppressive regimes.

Or an indigenous Australian.

Or a farmer.

Or someone who lived by the sea.

But no. Instead, I am an average white female who has everything going for her and nothing to lose but her way of life in this, the lucky country we call Australia.



Census (Fail) 2016

Census night in Australia was Tuesday, 9th of August 2016.

Census Household Questionnaire

It is supposed to be the evening where everyone in Australia completes their answers to a series of questions in order to give the Australian Bureau of Statistics an accurate snapshot of the country and its citizens at that particular moment in history.

It’s also supposed to be the method by which all infrastructure and government planning is informed for the next five years.

Why then has there been an unprecedented amount of dispute, to the point of international recognition, regarding this clearly valuable and essential system of statistical data collection?

Let’s go into the details, shall we?

Arguments for the Census

So, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) says that:

The Census provides a snapshot of Australia’s people and their housing. It helps estimate Australia’s population which is used to distribute government funds and plan services for your community. – ABS Census Household Form 2016.

Arguments against the Census

One of the main argument against the Census is that the questions being presented are antiquated and can no longer be used to give the accurate snapshot of Australian people that the ABS is after. Later on in this article, I go through the questions, so you can make up your own mind.

One of the biggest arguments this time round is that in 2015 the ABS announced it would be requiring you to give your name with your supposed anonymous data, and that this is in direct breach of the intention of the Census Act.

Another argument being presented is that the online system is not sufficiently secure to ensure end-to-end closed loop transmissions.

What’s different this year?

This year, people were able to submit their census responses online. This was not as viable an option as some might have liked, with the ABS and Census websites falling over in a very short amount of time.

It was expected that somewhere in the vicinity of 15 million people were expected to complete their civic census duty online. So, it’s more than a little disappointing that the servers dealing with the delivery and submission of online census forms weren’t able to deal with the load.

Also of note, is that this is the first year that respondents have been asked to provide their name with all this identifying information. This has been a main cause of concern for privacy advocates, who have said this is in clear breach of parliamentary acts, puts people at risk of discrimination, violence, and more. Many people online have been asking if they have to place their name on the form, with some legal experts trying to give unbiased and informative guidelines on what is and isn’t necessary, according to the word of the law. Suffice to say, that this is the main reason many are giving for not completing the Census this time round. These people have accepted potential for AUD$180 per day fines under the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

The questions themselves – presented without comment

  1. What is the address of this dwelling?
  2. Name of each person including visitors who spent the night of Tuesday, 9 August 2016 in this dwelling.
    – include all adults, children, babies and visitors present.
    – include any person who usually lives in this dwelling who returned on Wednesday, 10 August 2016 without being included on a form elsewhere.
    for all other cases of persons away, please include them in Questions 52 and 53 only.
  3. Is the person male of female?
    – Mark one box for each person (male OR female).
  4. What is the person’s date of birth or age?
  5. What is the person’s relationship to Person 1/Person 2?
    – Husband or wife of Person 1
    – De facto partner of Person 1
    – Child of Person 1
    – Stepchild of Person 1
    – Brother or sister of Person 1
    – Child of both Person 1 and Person 2
    – Child of Person 1 only
    – Child of Person 2 only
    – Unrelated flatmate or co-tenant of Person 1
    – Other relationship to Person 1 (please specify)
  6. What is the person’s present marital status?
    – Never married
    – Widowed
    – Divorced
    – Separated but not divorced
    – Married
  7. Is the person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?
    – No
    – Yes, Aboriginal
    – Yes, Torres Strait Islander
  8. Where does the person usually live?
    – For persons who usually live in another country and who are visiting Australia for less than one year, mark ‘Other Country’.
    – For other persons, ‘usually living’ means the address at which the person has lived, or intends to live, for a total of six months or more in 2016.
    – For persons who have no usual address, write ‘NONE’ in the ‘Suburb/Locality’ box.
    – For boarders at boarding school, write the address of the boarding school or college.
  9. Where did the person usually live one year ago (at August 9 2015)?
    – If the person is less than one year old, leave blank.
    – For person who had no usual address on 9 August 2015, write the address at which they were then living.
  10. Where did the person usually live five years ago (at 9 August 2011)?
    – If the person is less than five years old, leave blank.
    – For persons who had no usual address on 9 August 2011, write the address at which they were then living.
  11. Is the person and Australian citizen?
    – Yes, Australian citizen
    – No
  12. In which country was the person born?
    – Australia -> go to 14
    – England
    – New Zealand
    – India
    – Italy
    – Vietnam
    – Phillippines
    – Other (please specify)
  13. In what year did the person first arrive in Australia to live here for one year or more?
    – XXXX (year)
    – Other (please specify)
  14. In which country was the person’s father born?
    – Australia
    – Other (please specify)
  15. In which country was the person’s mother born?
    – Australia
    – Other (please specify)
  16. Does the person speak a language other than English at home?
    – No, English only -> Go to 18
    – Yes, Mandarin
    – Yes, Italian
    – Yes, Arabic
    – Yes, Cantonese
    – Yes, Greek
    – Yes, Vietnamese
    – Yes, other (please specify)
  17. How well does the person speak English?
    – Very well
    – Well
    – Not well
    – Not at all
  18. What is the person’s ancestry?
    – Provide up to two ancestries only.
    – English
    – Irish
    – Scottish
    – Italian
    – German
    – Chinese
    – Australia
    – Other ancestry 1 (please specify)
    – Other ancestry 2 (please specify)
  19. What is the person’s religion?
    – Answering this questions is optional.
    – No religion
    – Catholic
    – Anglican (Church of England)
    – Uniting Church
    – Presbyterian
    – Buddhism
    – Islam
    – Greek Orthodox
    – Baptist
    – Hinduism
    – Other (please specify)
  20. Does the person ever need someone to help with, or be with them, for self care activities?
    – Yes, always
    – Yes, sometimes
    – No
  21. Does the person ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, body movement activities?
    – Yes, always
    – Yes, sometimes
    – No
  22. Does the person ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, communication activities?
    – Yes, always
    – Yes, sometimes
    – No
  23. What are the reasons for the need for assistance or supervision shown in Questions 20, 21, and 22?
    – No need for help or supervision
    – Short-term health condition (lasting less than six months)
    – Long-term health condition (lasting six months or more)
    – Disability (lasting six months or more)
    – Old or young age
    – Difficulty with English language
    – Other cause
  24. Is the person attending a school or any other educational institution?
    – No -> Go to 26
    – Yes, full-time student
    – Yes, part-time student
  25. What type of educational institution is the person attending?
    – Preschool
    Infants/Primary School
    – Government
    – Catholic
    – Other non-government
    Secondary School
    – Government
    – Catholic
    – Other non-government
    Tertiary institution
    – Technical or further educational institution (including TAFE colleges)
    – University or other higher educational institution
    – Other educational institution
  27. What is the highest year of primary and secondary school the person has ever completed?
    – Year 12 or equivalent
    – Year 11 or equivalent
    – Year 10 or equivalent
    – Year 9 or equivalent
    – Year 8 or equivalent
    – Did not go to school
  28. Has the person completed any educational qualification (including a trade certificate)?
    – No -> Go to 32
    – No, still studying for first qualification
    – Yes, trade certificate/apprenticeship
    – Yes, other qualification
  29. What is the level of highest qualification the person has completed?
  30. What is the main field of study for the person’s highest qualification completed?
  31. Did the person complete this qualification before 1988?
  32. For each female, how many babies has she ever given birth to?
  33. What is the total of all income the person usually receives?
  34. Last week, did the person have a job of any kind?
  35. In the main job held last week, was the person:
    – working for an employer?
    – working in own business?
  36. Was the person’s business:
    – Unincorporated?
    – Incorporated?
  37. Does the person’s business employ people?
    – No, no employees (other than owner/s)
    – Yes, 1 – 19 employees
    – Yes, 20 or more employees
  38. In the main job held last week, what was the person’s occupation?
  39. What are the main tasks that the person usually performs in that occupation?
  40. for the main job held last week, what was the employer’s business name?
  41. For the main job held last week, what was he person’s workplace address?
  42. What best describes the industry or business of the employer at the location where the person works?
  43. What are the main good produced or main services provided by the employer’s business?
  44. Last week, how many hours did the person work in all jobs?
  45. How did the person get to work on Tuesday, 9 August 2016?
  46. Did the person actively look for work at any time in the last four weeks?
  47. If the person had found a job, could the person have started work last week?
  48. In the last week did the person spend time doing unpaid domestic work for their household?
  49. In the last two weeks did the person spend time providing unpaid care, help or assistance to family members or others because of a disability, a long term health condition or problems related to old age?
  50. In the last two weeks did the person spend time looking after a child, without pay?
  51. In the last twelve months did the person spend any time doing voluntary work through an organisation or group?
  52. Were there any people away on the night of Tuesday, 9 august 2016 who usually live in this dwelling?
  53. For each person away, complete the following questions:
    – Name of each person who usually lives in this dwelling but was away on Tuesday, 9 August 2016.
    – Is the person male or female?
    – What is the person’s date of birth or age?
    – Is the person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?
    – Is the person a full-time student?
    – What is the person’s relationship to Person 1/Person 2?
  54. Please answer the following questions for this dwelling.
    – How many registered motor vehicles owned or used by residents of this dwelling were garaged or parked at or near this dwelling on the night of Tuesday, 9 August 2016?
  55. How many bedrooms are there in this dwelling?
  56. Is this dwelling:
    – Owned outright? -> Go to 59
    – Owned with a mortgage? -> Go to 58
    – Being purchased under a shared equity scheme? -> Go to 58
    – Being rented?
    – Being occupied rent free?
    – Being occupies under a life tenure scheme?
    – Other?
  57. If this dwelling is being rented, who is it rented from?
    – Real estate agent
    – Government Housing Authority/Housing Department (Public Housing)
    – Parent/ other relative not in this dwelling
    – Other person not in this dwelling
    – Residential park (including caravan parks and marinas)
    – Employer – Government (including Defence Housing Authority)
    – Employer – Private
    – Housing co-operative, Community or Church Group
  58. How much does your household pay for this dwelling?
  59. Does any member of this household access the internet from this dwelling?
  60. Does each person agree to his/her name and address and other information on this form being kept by the National Archives of Australia and then made publicly available after 99 years?

AIMIA 2016 Digital Industry Salaries Report

The Digital Industry Association of Australia recently released the findings of its 2016 investigation into the digital industries and salaries.

Initially, I was interested to read the report as I was on the hunt for a new role and wanted to make sure that my expectations, in regards to remuneration and a couple of other factors, were on track for my industry.

There are a number of interesting figures highlighted by this report. The statistics found by this report for those working in the social media and marketing areas is in line with the findings in last year’s Australian Community Manager’s Survey conducted by Quiip, swarm community management conference, and Dialogue Consulting.

Also of note is how out of step the salaries for those in the executive branch of the industry are, when compared with professionals across the spectrum of roles included.

At $200,000, the median salary of Senior Digital Executives is markedly higher than that of the second most highly paid digital professionals .

At $200,000, the median salary of Senior Digital Executives is markedly higher than that of the
second most highly paid digital professionals (eCommerce: $120,000).

What I would like to see is a report comparing expectations of those looking to enter the digital industries to the realities of working in the field. I’m talking points like salary (obviously a large factor), hours worked in the office, hours worked outside of office hours, unpaid work hours (come on, we all know it happens), and job satisfaction. I think these are all important factors to consider when looking to enter a new job, but are of especial interest to those who are new to the workforce in general.

Australian Community Managers Survey 2015

Numbers make me happy. Numbers about groups of people make me especially happy. Numbers about groups of people that include me? Even better!

That’s why the results of the benchmark 2015 Australian Community Managers Survey was of particular interest to me.

I think some people underestimate the power that community management has over a brand's identity in this increasingly digital and social world.

The survey was commissioned by Dialogue Consulting, SWARM community management conference co-founder Venessa Paech and Quiip, Australia’s leading social media and online community management company, to investigate the state of the professional online community management sector and its practitioners who build, manage and support online communities. The results delivered in spades.

It has revealed a highly educated work force under pressure, with four in 10 earning less than the national average despite long working hours that sees half working more than a five day week. But, beyond that, it also highlighted a number of issues needing resolution:

  • Approximately 40% of  survey respondents earned less than the national average.

  • 43% of respondents are working more than five days a week,. Almost one in 10 (30 of 262 respondents) work seven days a week, with three in four (77%) work more than an eight-hour day.

  • Despite the 24/7 nature of social media and online communities, less than one in five respondents said their organisation provided around the clock monitoring. Eight in 10 (82%) said their organisation conducted moderation within business hours, with at least some out of hours.

  • While almost all organisations collected metrics around their communities, four in 10 respondents said only some of their communities had a defined purpose – and one-third of those that had a purpose had no formal strategy in place.

So, why does this matter to me? Why am I writing about it? Well, for starters, it shows that there is a lack of understanding in this field. Organisations are realising the need to hire community and social media professionals to help support their brands, but lack the knowledge to harness, utilise and support this highly educated and, to be perfectly frank, freaking awesome group of professionals. It’s just another case of something shiny and new being brought on board without a clear plan for optimising the workforce.

If you’d like to obtain a copy of the report for yourself, you can do so at the ACM website.

Facebook = Internet… or does it?

Michael Wolf, of Activate fame, said recently that Facebook wants to be the internet. He was, of course, referring to a deal between the social media giant and Oculus VR. The question is: How is it going to achieve it?

Img credit: Rishi Bandopadhay on

Img credit: Rishi Bandopadhay on

The internet, and by extension the web, has become central to our day-to-day existence. We use it to communicate with our friends, family and colleagues. We use it to access information that might otherwise elude us. It’s the first thing we think to turn to when it comes to the ever-present question, “What will I make for dinner?” In fact, with the Internet of Things invading our appliances, the day is not too far away that we see the Internet becoming the single most integral element in our everyday life outside of air, food and water.

Facebook sees itself at the centre of this brave new world. Its active hunting and acquisition of smaller companies offering something it wants is just one part of the strategy to offer everything online in just one place.

The Facebook wall has taken over what websites like LiveJournal and MySpace once offered, with Facebook Messenger giving us what Skype can. It’s not creating new opportunities, but more an act of integrating existing offerings and sticking a shiny new Facebook blue badge on it. Games can even be played in Messenger as well! Where will it end?

In Australia, you can now have your memorial online with Facebook. Not even your end will mean an end to your social media presence.

All this plugging in to your general life has left some people concerned.

Some critics of Facebook’s say that attempts to provide free internet access to emerging markets by the world’s largest social media platform threatens “…freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy and innovation.

Long time readers of this blog and my Twitter feed will know that I am a believer in keeping the net neutral (amongst other things). Now, I’m not saying that Facebook is evil. There are plenty of other people who have written on that subject. All I’m saying is that, as with any form of technology, there are things to be considered when you’re delving into the realm of social media.

All Quiet on the Western Front.

It’s been a while. I thought once my Honours dissertation was submitted I would have more time for blogging and getting back into my writing. Oh goodness me, how wrong was I?

Since my last post I have received my Honours marks (passed! Thank goodness!), spent a great festive season with my family and friends, signed up for and started a website development diploma (no rest for the wicked) and had a passing in the family. Oh. And moved across the country to Melbourne, Victoria!

Not bad for only a few weeks.

Melbourne Train Station

There are less than three weeks until the school year begins again. In that time, I have to find a place of my own to live (currently staying with friends), get all the necessary school gear for the Monkey, and start building a new life again. It’s not an insurmountable set of tasks, but it does leave me wondering if I have contracted an illness that forces me to tackle the Herculean workload sometimes. Oh well. This too shall come to pass.

I have also received an invitation to graduate, and have elected to attend my graduation ceremony. Of course, it would be in the middle of the week, and there’s no Melbourne venue that I can attend. So, it looks like I’ll be flying back over to Perth in February for a week of catch-ups, graduation ceremonies and reminding myself what my partner looks like. I think that is what is making this the hardest move I have made yet: the missing him. Still, it’s not forever, and we are maintaining as much daily contact and communications as possible. That’s making it a little easier to cope with.

Oh, if you would like to help me achieve my dream of walking across the stage for my graduation ceremony, I’ve set up a Pozible campaign. The cost of flights is a little prohibitive at the moment, so every little bit helps, even if it’s just a share. 🙂

Twitter’s Copycat Syndrome

We have seen a rash of recent changes to Twitter making it appear to most users more like Facebook. With it’s large cover image and pinned posts, it seems that Twitter is beginning to lose its separate identity in the race to commodify its users for the benefit of its main source of income – advertisers.

Twitter 8-bit

Today, we heard about even more impending changes, that will make Twitter as we know it no longer.

With major changes and additions to the Timeline feature we have come to know and love of Twitter, combined with additional content creation tools, it begs the question – Is Twitter just like the other guys, or is there hope that it will retain is separate identity?