Mathew Mackie

#CensusFail: The failure that Australia had to have

Approx Reading Time-10The Left and the Right have been pushed further apart as of late, which is why I’m claiming that the #CensusFail was important. It was a mistake we could all enjoy. Together.



Yesterday, when Michael McCormack reeled out the greatest piece of spin seen since N-Trance remixed the Bee Gees, it brought upon finger dancing in the cyber streets. Good vibes and gallows humour actioned by the knowledge that they fucked up. It was a beautiful moment.

Something that was forced upon us by threat of fiduciary woe was defeated by redistribution of the cosmos. Whether we’d have to re-sit the test was immaterial; it was a stay of execution, a lozenge for the collective grunt uttered prior and during our attempted failures. As yesterday broke, there was an outpouring of joy. And while it didn’t reach the gaudy heights of V-E Day, there was something inherently special about yesterday. Mark it on the calendar for future reference. August 10, 2016. That towering day when the keyboards of those valiant warriors fell silent. Soldiers of both sides, dug in the trenches of differing opinion, climbed over the top to join hands with their sworn foes to point fingers at the same person.

“Census,” we all said in a loud voice:

Yes, the Census was an ornately wrapped gift from Clusterfuck and Co.
But what made the present thoughtful, was that it was all inclusive.

In the political sphere of latter day Australia, the clusterfucks are subjective.
They usually award the win to one side, and one side only. What made this special, was the unified direction we all shook our fists at.

The laurels of victory, doled out by virtue of the meme, the snide comment, the bitter shake of the head; which is business-usual. But, we did so with arms slung around the shoulders of our fellow inconvenienced citizens. Left and Right met in the middle to hurl poop at the windows of the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This was, make no mistake, an important moment. As it stands, The 2016 vintage ‘Australia’ is a divided grape. One with furrowed brows as wide as the continent itself, where the main thing we can agree on is the complete lack of merit held by those with an opposing view. However, the 10th of August should be remembered as the time when we all came together, to do something important. To Complain. As one.

Ironically, it was the questions that the Census held that best chart this phenomenon. Regardless of your choice of religion, sex, age, political party or whathaveyou, we were, for a brief finite moment, one. A true Utopian moment, brought upon by the failures of those who are trying to assemble it. It is a moment worth remembering in years to come, or next time a great fissure breaks us, as the emergence of the Nauru papers takes hold.

While we have passed that day already, reconciled it to the past, soon to be forgotten, the lesson should remain. There’s nothing that brings us together more than a massive cock-up. The bigger the failure, the closer we squish together.

I’m not calling for the government to fuck up deliberately to unite us (although that would probably work). All I’m saying is that we should not forget the importance of the mistake. As the old idiom goes, “It wasn’t a mistake if we learned something from it”. What that is, is what we learned for a flittering moment yesterday: that we could get along…it didn’t matter that it was based in a negative context.

Until the next Census, then.


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