Rumour has it the Australian Bureau of Statistics is trialling a change to the way the census question on religion is put, and might adopt the New Zealand version.
In Australia, the choice “No religion” has traditionally been last in the long list of possible responses to the question “What is your religion?” No doubt many respondents would tick one of the religious options as they read down the long list, even if they were, in reality, not practising religionists but simply born into a family that had traditionally identified as religious.
The ABS trial, conducted in parts of South Australia and Western Australia on 5 August, instead places the “No religion” first in the list, as per the NZ model. Forty per cent of New Zealanders tick the “No Religion” box, compared with around 22% in Australia.
Could we possibly see some progress in the long fight against entrenched religious privilege in this country?
Maybe, but brace for the backlash!