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ECAJ Leader Urges Community To Identify As Jews

ECAJ Leader Urges Community To Identify As Jews

01 August 2016

ECAJ Statement

Australia’s elected national Jewish roof body is urging all Jewish Australians to insert the word ‘Jewish’ or ‘Judaism’ in answer to the question on the Census questionnaire that asks ‘What is your religion?’

“This should be done for each member of the household when you complete the questionnaire on Census night on Tuesday 9 August 2016”, said Robert Goot, the President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. “There is no box you can tick marked: ‘Judaism’ or ‘Jewish’. In the past many Jewish people did not answer the religion question, or even selected another religion to mask their identity”.

Mr Goot added “Census data affects Government’s allocation of resources to assist the Australian community in a host of vital areas. The Jewish community also depends on the Census for accurate planning information for services in fields of such as education, welfare and aged care.”

Noting that most people will complete the 2016 Census questionnaire online, Mr Goot also emphasised that it will still be possible to request and complete a hard-copy form for those who wish to do so.

Mr Goot noted that there are privacy, confidentiality and security concerns in the Jewish community regarding the departure from past practices in the 2016 census, and emphasised that the ECAJ has met and will continue to meet with the ABS and the Government to voice these concerns. “On balance the ECAJ believes it is still very much in the interests of the Jewish community that the census is completed with full accuracy, including the optional question on religion," Mr Goot said.

“The Census will provide vital data for all Australians including the Jewish community. That information will help Jewish community bodies to represent the community’s needs to government more effectively and will help us to plan for the future and ensure appropriate provision of critical services and programs”, Mr Goot emphasised. “I ask all Jewish Australians to complete the questionnaire with full and accurate details.”

Contact: Peter Wertheim AM | Executive Director
ph: 02 8353 8500 | m: 0408 160 904 | fax: 02 9361 5888 | e: pwertheim@ecaj.org.au

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