The Australian Bureau of Statistics is urging everyone who hasn’t completed their census forms to do so. With an estimated two million households still yet to fill in their submissions, the ABS has started threatening people with fines… just as soon as they get their pentium computer back up and running.
“Kevin from IT only just got back from annual leave,” Richard, an ABS worker, said excitedly. “He’s a bit of a computer wiz – he’s the only one that knows how to operate Windows 95.”
“You’ll see,” he added enthusiastically, “When we get our computer going again those households that have been lazy in getting their census done are going to be fined so hard they aren’t going to know what hit them!”
However, in the meantime there are still a few kinks the ABS needs to sort out. “The fact we haven’t had a working computer meant we haven’t calculated exactly how much the fines are yet,” said Tom, a statistician at the ABS.
“But we made some progress,” he continued. “We’ve narrowed the amount to somewhere in the positive real numbers.” Tom said he was pleased with this conclusion, noting that by not imposing a negative fine he had saved the ABS thousands of dollars.
Tom also indicated that real progress had been made on the fine calculations when “Linda from accounts showed up with an abacus.” But unfortunately the joy was short-lived. “The abacus broke when we tried to divide by zero,” he said.
“We put in a service request but we haven’t heard anything – that was two months ago.”