The Australian Bureau of Statistics has selected me to undertake its ‘Economic Activity Survey 2009-10’. Bugger it.
That means I have to fill it its twenty page form. Have to.
Or do I?
I have been carefully ignoring it for the past few weeks. Just as I carefully ignored the reminder letter. The one that stated a little more forcefully that I should comply with the request. But I’m not ignoring the one that arrived today saying that ‘businesses face penalties of up to $110 per day for failure to complete and return a form when directed to do so by the Australian Statistician or his delegate’. Quite a threat.
Except that so far I’ve only been requested to complete the form. That’s how I read what looks to be the relevant section. Failing to comply with a direction under ss.10(4) is an offence under s.14, but this is silent on complying with a request under ss.10(3).
Which makes me wonder: Does the Australian Bureau of Statistics employ any competent lawyers?
Here’s a paragraph from the letter I’m writing in response:
I am amazed that it requires a mere freelance writer to inform you of your legal requirements. Do you not have legal staff? Or have I entirely missed some hidden part of your Act? As I sit here, writing this letter, I still have a nagging feeling that I must have missed something. Surely, I think, an organisation as large as yours, with the weight of the Government of Australian behind it, couldn’t be so utterly dumb in this part of its activities? If I am in error, I will require you to explicitly specify the authority that you are actually using, and to comply with the terms of that authority.
Well, I’m certainly hoping I haven’t missed something important here. Could get expensive!