Frequently Asked Questions
Why is answering the religion question important?
You are not required to answer the religion question, but religion statistics from the Census are used to inform policies and funding that affect the daily lives of all Australians — for example for schools, hospitals, aged care facilities, universities, places of worship, chaplaincy programs, laws governing religious and non-religious freedoms, allocation of time on public radio and other media, and so on.
Erroneous statistics, along with misleading claims from some religious leaders, can result in damaging policies or inappropriate funding.
What if I’m baptised but not practising?
If you firmly and actively believe the teachings and positions of your denomination’s leading clerics, then it would be appropriate to mark that religion even though you are not practising.
However, if you doubt or disagree with leading clerics, then you could answer more generally (e.g. Christian rather than Catholic), more broadly (Other Religion), or No Religion.
How should I answer for my children?
If possible, let them answer for themselves. Freedom to choose is a fundamental right in Australia. Record their answer even if your answer is different.
If they haven’t decided, or are too young to decide, the most appropriate answer is “No Religion”.
What if my family is religious, but I’m not?
If your family historically regards itself as Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Hindu or any other religion but you don’t really follow or practise that religion — or any other religion — then mark No Religion.
How do I keep my answer from prying eyes?
If you are concerned about family or other household members seeing your answer, make sure you fill out your Census form privately online, rather than using the household-wide paper form.
Am I religious if I attend a religious wedding or funeral?
What if I believe in a ‘higher power’ but not God?
Is atheism, humanism or rationalism a religion?
No. While these are types of worldviews, they don’t rely on metaphysical or supernatural explanations of the world. If you hold any of these world views, mark “No Religion”.