Should we write "Permaculture" for the Religion Question on the Australian Census?

Discussion in 'Environmental and Health Professionals Interested' started by Callum EHO, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. Callum EHO

    Callum EHO Junior Member

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    19 ​
    What is the person’s religion?
    [FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT][FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=DGUBGN+ArialNarrow][FONT=DGUBGN+ArialNarrow]Answering this question is [/FONT][/FONT]OPTIONAL.[FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT][FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=DGUBGN+ArialNarrow][FONT=DGUBGN+ArialNarrow]Examples of ‘Other - please specify’ are: SALVATION ARMY, HINDUISM, JUDAISM, HUMANISM.[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT][FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=DGUBGN+ArialNarrow][FONT=DGUBGN+ArialNarrow]If no religion, mark the ‘No religion’ box.[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT][FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT]( )[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT][FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT][/FONT][/FONT]
    [FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT][FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT][/FONT][/FONT]
    [FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT][FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT]Some of us might have an actual religion or stronger belief they wish to declare but what do you think about adding "Permaculture" instead of the "no religion box" so we start to rate officially![/FONT][/FONT]
    [FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT][FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT][/FONT][/FONT]
    [FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT][FONT=RPHOFG+TimesNewRomanPSMT]Is this the right term? or is it "Permaculturalism"?

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  2. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day Callum

    Welcome to the PRI Forum.

    On the subject of filling out the 2011 Australian Census form (paper, or electronic) and in particular answering (or not answering) question 19:

    When the data is collated by the Census staff, they must adhere to a strict form of codifying; that is, they have to put 'something' against your name. For example, if you leave this question blank, then the enumerator will (most likely) allocate code number 0001 "Not stated". In this sense, even by doing 'nothing', you get allocated 'something'. Further, for example, if you state that you are a Satan worshipper, then the enumerator could (most likely) allocate either 6995 "Satanism" or 6995 "Satan's Disciple". On and on it goes, until everyone has been allocated at least 'something'. If, however, you state (write) that you are a 'permaculturist' or a follower of 'permaculturism', or that you bow down and pray to the god of 'permaculture', because there is nothing within the extensive coding list that even resembles the term 'permaculture' (and any of its derivatives), then you will (once again, most likely) be allocated a code according to this rule: "Responses which cannot be identified as relating to a separately identified Religious Group in the classification are assigned a residual category code, or a supplementary code...". Whatever they case may be, if 'permaculturists' wish to be individually counted on the Census as members of/in some sort of religious affiliation in order to "rate officially", then they would have to lobby the ABS for inclusion on the 'list'. Who knows, maybe if enough people were to do the above, 'permaculture' may indeed be recognised as a 'religion'. However, the question I would then ask is, what purpose would this serve?

    It's all described (in great detail) here.

    Have a happy 2011 Australian Census everyone, Markos.
     
  3. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Once again Markos your supreme knowledge is inspirational! Does Jedi Knight rate as a cannot be identified code or does it have a code?
     
  4. Callum EHO

    Callum EHO Junior Member

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    I guess if the questions is being used to measure "the extent of ignorance of reality" in the community then Jedi is going go show up as a burst sense of humour which is healthy but to nominate "permaculture" might might suggest you support a sustainable existance, are doing your best to be self reliant and proactive in your community in sustainable ways.

    You are right about questioning whether or not there are any advantages or disadvantages to permaculture in listing permaculture as a religion. There might be tax breaks at the higher levels for an organisation and common land for worship like a community garden but other than that I am not sure. Is there any benefit in being counted? Is there any benefit in being listed? I guess this is partly why I opened up this thread. Are some people turning to religion because the other social systems are falling apart?
     
  5. Callum EHO

    Callum EHO Junior Member

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    I guess the other aspect is whether or not governments care about people who want to sustainably use their land in comparison to others who want to use it for other purposes?
    Should permaculturalists be pushing for a different Council rate or tax rebate? Should they be going for carbon credits because of the reduced carbon miles and landfill contributions or sewer sludge ! Might it get to the point that permaculture might work out a way to get a whole heap of rebates and as more people take it up the polluters start having to face the real costs. The places left for permaculturalists to set up land systems away from incompatible land uses - are they getting greater or fewer? Should they be pushing for their own clean part of a catchment somewhere?
     
  6. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day Eco

    Don't know about the 'supreme knowledge' stuff, it's just that I have been studying the Census data collection/collating/codifying system a lot of late in relation to the my thesis, but glad my reading of it has proven to be inspirational for you. As for 'Jedi Knight', I seem to remember in previous Census' this particular 'religion' picked up about 20,000 'hits' (at least according to populist media reports). A quick search of the 'J' list however reveals nothing in the codes that even resembles 'Jedi', so I guess it too would be lumped in with the 'residual or supplementary' codes. It's a bit of a laugh though, just to see what is on the list. Check it out.

    Cheerio, Markos
     
  7. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day again, Callum

    In response to the first set of questions: Personally, I don't see any benefits whatsoever.

    As for the last question: On practically every scale, people who have access to higher, secular (especially tertiary) education tend to report lower rates of affiliation to religion of any kind. So in some senses, and on some particular levels, I guess you could say "...some people turn to religion because other social [i.e. eduction] systems are falling apart", or perhaps (and this is especially true in some developing regions) they were never there to begin with.

    Cheerio, Markos
     
  8. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day Callum

    All very worthy questions, but probably best not to address them via this thread, least we confuse them within the context (religion) of which they are being asked. May I suggest you open another thread, perhaps one titled "Government recognition of permaculture" or some such thing?

    Cheerio, Markos
     
  9. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day again, Eco

    Sorry, missed the '20-min deadline' for edits, otherwise I would have added this in to my earlier response.

    There is some very interesting discourse occurring here, and here on the very topic of marking 'Jedi' as your religion on your Census return form.

    Cheers again, Markos
     
  10. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Interesting indeed. I presume that it must have been coded for in the past or the statistics re how many people identified themselves as Jedi at the last election would not be able to be pulled from the data.
    Personally the idea that permaculture is a religion doesn't sit easily with me. I don't believe that the ethics and principles are at odds with those of any of the major faiths. Making it out to be a religion only risks alienating those who hold a faith already.
     
  11. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day Eco

    I decided to do some research on the topic of 'Jedi in the Census', and this is what I found:

    Many populist media outlets continue to pump out stories such as this:

    The Age (2011) Census won't count Jedis or pastaferians

    The official position of the ABS in relation to this very topic:

    The Australian Standard Classification Of Religious Groups lists all religions which the ABS has identified and is used for coding census responses. The criteria used for recognising something as a religion are discussed in that publication and go beyond the number of responses a particular answer receives in the census.

    The classification is is periodically updated when new information comes to light. Answers such as Jedi and others which have not to this point in time [2001] been identified as a religion in the classification will be coded to the one category 'not defined', which is the label to be used in standard census output reports.


    Source: ABS (2001) The 2001 Census, Religion and the Jedi

    Interestingly, for me at least, and as far as my own non-religion is concerned, being an Anarchist is recognised by the ABS as a bonafide 'no religion' classification.

    Like I said, have fun with it. But remember, if we do not have some way of accurately learning what people's needs are (for example, via the Census) than we will find it difficult to plan for new ways to meet those needs.

    Markos
     
  12. purecajn

    purecajn Junior Member

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    Wouldn't one first have to file an application or to petition the local governing body to recognize permaculture as a religion? And if so whom in government would you contact in order to access said application (or in the alternative), whom would one specifically petition for said right?
     
  13. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day purecajn

    In the context of the original thread question, "Should we write "Permaculture" for the Religion Question on the Australian Census?", and in response to your own first question, the simple answer is, no. In Australia, one can 'write' whatever they like in response to Question 19 of the Census. However, if one wishes to have one's 'affiliation' counted (or 'enumerated', and then added to a legitimate body of data, to be later reused in secondary data analysis research by people such as myself, social scientists), then one must write down one of the 'as yet' recognised 'religions' or 'no religions', or risk having their response to this question put into a category called 'not defined' (where all the 108,000-plus 'Jedis', 'Flying Spaghetti Monsters', etc. were 'dumped' last (2006) Census).

    In response to the general question about permaculture becoming recognized as a religion, there are other legislative and judicial processes whereby this can by attempted (see, for example: ABS (1996) Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups - Chapter 1: Definition of Religion).

    Finally, I would like to once again put this question forward: What purpose/s would it serve to have permaculture recognised as a religion?

    Cheerio, Markos
     
  14. Callum EHO

    Callum EHO Junior Member

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    From memory it was treasury or the tax office I think. From memory scientology went for it a few years ago - not sure if they got it based on their science fiction.
    Surely permaculture would better qualify being bedded in reality. Religions in general have a pretty bad name but people are drawn to them when things get tough and I am not sure how beneficial this is to the rest of us when linked to politics, law and war.

    Maybe permaculture could branch out and get into environmentally funerals as a start !! Might be good all round and a good educational opportunity all in one.
    If land was involved then being a religion is an advantage funding wise!
     
  15. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day again, Callum

    I guess that we are discussing some very different sub-contexts here. In the Context of general (Australian) Law, religion has a clearly defined set of parameters (see the link in the previous thread), In the context of the Census (ditto: Australian Law). If however we are discussing religion, and be extension permaculture, and purely in the context of it posing "an advantage funding wise", then we are still discussing Australian Law (albeit one that is bound up in the form of income tax regulations). Take for example the following hypothetical:

    ABC Permaculture Group wishes to purchase some land and operate as a religious institution because they believe that if they qualify as a religion they can negate having to pay income tax on any profits said to be earned from working the land. Can they do it?

    Let's see what the ATO (Australian Tax Office) has to say on the matter:

    Religious institution

    Your organisation will be a religious institution if it is an establishment, organisation or association that is instituted to advance or promote religious purposes.

    An institution may have the legal structure of an unincorporated association or a corporation. However, incorporation is not enough, on its own, for an organisation to be an institution. Its activities, size, permanence and recognition will be relevant.

    An organisation that is established controlled and operated by family members and friends would not normally be an institution.

    An institution will be a religious institution if:

    * its objects and activities reflect its character as a body instituted for the promotion of some religious object, and
    * the beliefs and practices of the members constitute a religion.

    The term 'religion' is not confined to major religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, but also extends to Buddhism, Taoism, Jehovah's Witness, the Free Daist Communion of Australia and Scientology. The categories of religion are not closed. Nonetheless, to be a religion there must be:

    * belief in a supernatural being, thing or principle, and
    * acceptance of canons of conduct that give effect to that belief, but that do not offend against the ordinary laws.

    Four other conditions

    There are further conditions a religious institution must meet to be exempt from income tax. The religious institution:

    * must meet one of the three tests, or
    * must be listed by name in the income tax regulations for these purposes, and have a physical presence in Australia but pursue its objectives and incur its expenditure principally outside Australia.

    The three tests are:

    * physical presence in Australia test
    * deductible gift recipient test, or
    * prescribed by law test.

    Does your organisation exist, operate and incur its expenditure solely and entirely in Australia?

    YES

    Your organisation meets the physical presence in Australia test. You do not need to read any further about the three tests.

    NO

    See the explanation of the three tests.

    Checklist

    Your organisation will be exempt from income tax if it meets all of the following requirements:

    * it is a religious institution
    * it is not a charity, and
    * it meets at least one of four other conditions.


    So, how did we go? In my estimation, ABC Permaculture may very well meet the above criterion and legally define itself as a religion, and good luck to them if they do! However, I would argue that ABC Permaculture as an entity does represent permaculture as a collective, and therefore (thankfully) is not representative of me! In this sense, permaculture (the collective term) can not, should not, will not, ever be considered (in the legal sense of the word) a religion.

    Cheerio, Markos
     
  16. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Isn't Anarchy a religion, rather than not a religion? It has a belief system, and there are organisations and publications and so on? If I were a serious Anarchist I'd want to be classified as such rather than being lumped in with a bunch of people who just couldn't be fagged with making up their minds about what they believe in.

    And if there are enough Anarchists on the Census then maybe you could argue that Anarchy should be taught in Religious Ed.... or be able to have a tax deductible fund raising arm.

    (PS personally I consider myself a confused Protestant with Buddhist and Pagan tendencies.... I don't think they'll have a classification for that either)
     
  17. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day Eco

    No, anarchy is not a religion, at least not in a legal sense (see post #15). Anarchy is a way of life, a philosophy, a political ideology. The term is derived from the Greek roots ἀναρχία meaning 'of state', and ἄναρχ-ος meaning 'without a chief or head'. In this sense, anarchy is a bit like permaculture. Who is the 'boss' of permaculture? David, Bill, Geoff, You, I? Of course the answer is, none of us. Permaculture (just like anarchy) is greater than the sum of its respective parts.

    According to the Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG), 'Anarchist' is defined as 'No religion'. It fits within a rather narrow category known as the 7000s, or more specifically, the 7010s. Check it (us) out. I'm in there with a heaps of other interesting 'No Religion' people (all in strict, ABS-efficient alphabetical order, of course): 'Anti Religion, Apostate, Calathumpian, Don't follow any, Heathen, Iconoclast, Indifferent, Infidel, Na, Nihilist, Nil, No, No Religion, Non believer, None, None in particular, Secularist, Unbeliever, Without Religion and last, but by no means least, Zilch'. As such, when I sit down to partake in our household's eCensus party on August 9 (or thereabouts), in my response to Question 19 ('What is your religion?') I will write 'Anarchist' in the box marked 'other'. Then, when the time comes for the ABS numerator (data coalator) to assign to my response a specific code, she/he will have no other choice but to mark it (me) down in the annals of history as 'Anarchist'. Which, incidently, and when nested back through the coding system that the ABS employs, will see me lumped in with all the other 'No Religions'. But, no matter. When the ABS do finally release (probably around late-2012, early 2013) their fine-grained 'Religious Affiliatiion (Full Classification List)', there I (maybe some others, too?) will be. Right there between 'Albanian Orthodox' (of which there were a total of 75 in the 2006 Census), and 'Ancestor Veneration' (503 in the 2006 Census). Fun hey?

    As for anarchy being taught in RE, or gaining tax free status, not as far as my anarchy is concerned. The day anarchy stops being a 'No Religion' and starts being a 'Religion', is they day I stop being an anarchist. Still, maybe if that does happen, I could start calling myself a Zilch...

    As for your fine self, a 'confused Protestant with Buddhist and Pagan tendencies'. Hmmm... a good mix, I should think. Not sure if our anal-ret friends at the ABS will be able to codify you, however, which is a shame. I believe everyone should get a guernsey.

    Have fun, folks. But please do remember, the Census is not a joke. If you do have a religion, any religion, by all means declare it. By the same token if you do not, please declare that too. If the 'undefined box' gets too big, we planners will not know where all the cool people hang out in Australia :D.

    Cheerio, Markos
     
  18. purecajn

    purecajn Junior Member

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    It would be nice knowing that through a Permi Religion more and more large scale pieces of land would be protected by the governments own power from itself. Establish a couple of pieces of land around a Monsanto farm and then the Gov. may be forced to side with the Permi religion by forcing the Mono people to shut down. their actions would violate holy ground by contaminating same.
     
  19. Callum EHO

    Callum EHO Junior Member

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    Good Work Markos,

    I guess the other question is whether the census should recognise when humans have moved onto something better than religion but not backwards down to anarchie of nothing at all ! Why is religion the big thing of interest?

    Why is it in Australia that none of the religions can organise and environmentally friendly funeral? Why is it we are the only species that even when we die we end up having further detrimental environmental impact !
     
  20. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day Callum

    Technically speaking, the Census does recognise shifts in religious (or non-religious) affiliation. The following graph clearly shows this to be the case:

    [​IMG]

    Source: Wikipedia (2011) Religion in Australia

    As to whether the above shows a shift to "something better than religion" or indeed, "backwards down to anarchie (sic)", I'll let you be the judge. For it is a purely subjective topic up for debate. For many people, there is nothing "better" than their particular brand of religion. Likewise for some people (myself included), any movement toward anarchy is a step forward to a "better" global community, rather than a step "backward".

    I assume what you are now asking is why the Census does not record shifts in affiliation away from religion to perhaps other, philosophical and/or ideological positions (other than that of 'no religion')? My answer to this question is, I don't know. Perhaps it is a question you could put to the ABS.

    What do you think such a question would look like, anyway?

    Further reading:

    ABS (2011) Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups

    Cheerio, Markos
     

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