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Compulsory "weigh, measure, what did you eat today?" Questions

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05/19/2010 12:30 AM
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Compulsory "weigh, measure, what did you eat today?" Questions
I know you American's have been outraged about the 'fat kid's" health questions - just to let you know that you aren't alone and also to highlight the coincidence of timing: this exact issue issue is being rolled out, in exactly the same time frame, on the other side of the world.

Same people who do the census, here.

Same issue, similar invasions into privacy, similar concerns about rights - all in the same week.

I don't know about everyone else, but my government doesn't seem to be calling the shots here, nor, if you don't mind me saying, does yours. So who is really behiind all this shit?

"Thousands facing fines if they refuse to divulge health info to ABS

Sue Dunlevy From: Herald Sun May 19, 2010 12:00AM 20 comments

UPDATE 11.40am: AUSTRALIA'S peak doctors body says 50,000 people should not be forced to answer questions about their health and lifestyle to government bean counters.

Up to 50,000 people face a fine of $110 a day if they refuse to divulge information on their health and lifestyle to Australian Bureau of Statistics researchers.

But the Australian Medical Association says while the information is important, people should not be penalised for not taking part.

“The AMA would not support anyone being forced to participate or being fined if they didn’t," President Dr Andrew Pesce told Radio 3AW today.

He said the body would be shocked if the Government took punitive action against people who did not want to cooperate.

"I can't imagine the Government has any intention of prosecuting people who don't co-operate," he said.

The Australian Health Survey announced in last week's Budget (online Federal Budget special here) will be the most comprehensive research on the health of Australians ever undertaken and will be jointly financed by the National Heart Foundation.

But the 50,000 people chosen to take part will be compelled to do so.

Participants will be weighed and measured and will be asked to give a blood and urine sample. They will also be asked detailed questions on what they drink and eat and their physical activity.

The ABS said participation "is ultimately compulsory for those chosen by random sampling to ensure the survey accurately represents the Australian population as a whole".

But participants would be compelled only to answer questions - providing a blood and urine sample and weighing in would be voluntary.

While it would seek the co-operation of those selected, the ABS said it had the power to direct unwilling respondents to provide information.

"If a participant were directed in writing and continued to refuse to comply, they may be prosecuted under the Census and Statistics Act 1905, and a fine may be imposed," a spokesman for the ABS said.

"A fine of up to $110 a day may be imposed until such time as the information is supplied."

While the AMA did not support the compulsory aspect of the survey Dr Pesce said the survey would provide valuable information for designing preventive health policies.

"We would reinforce … that this is important information and we would encourage people to see that they can contribute, if selected, to help plan our health services."

National Heart Foundation chief Lyn Roberts said she believed the survey would be done in a similar way to the ABS's National Health Survey.

"The difference is a voluntary component allowing participants to provide biomedical data which will allow policy makers to use verified data on their health for the first time rather than self-reported data, which we know can be unreliable."