In case you haven't been keeping up with current events, Australia will be holding a Census this week
. The point of the Census is to gather statistical data on the Australian population so that the government can use it to inform their policy decisions.
As every Australian that plays video games know, there is a strong opposition to an R18+ rating for video games amongst certain religious lobbying groups. Arguably, the results of the Census are important to gamers, because if the government believes that the majority of Australia supports certain religious principles, the risk exists that they might take the opinions of these lobby groups more seriously than they otherwise would.
While we at AusGamers try to not get too involved in issues like this, I feel this is a particularly important issue - especially in light of a recent social media viral campaign that reproduces comments
made by One Nation WA (edit: for clarity, you can see the relevant text that One Nation WA have published on their website
in the right-hand column, titled "THE 2011 CENSUS WILL BE HELD ON AUGUST 9TH"). You only need to look at OpenBook
to see how fast this campaign has spread amongst the civilians (that is, people who have not been on the Internet as long as us gamers and lack the natural immunities we have).
This has resulted in many people spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt, which might have the effect of causing more people to respond inaccurately in the Census just to quell their fears.
I firmly believe that the way to make the best Australia is to respond truthfully and accurately, and would never encourage people to fill out the Census incorrectly. I'm hoping that gamers - who tend to be more connected and aware of false Internet stuff - will do the right thing on the Census and not write something incorrect just because of some silly rumours spread about foreigners taking away our precious Easter Hat Parades.
I would also encourage gamers to not write answers like "Jedi", or the currently-in "Pastafarian". Such answers are not recognised by the ABS and get thrown into a category called "not defined" - which again risks giving more weight to religious lobbyists.