Census raises question: Is Australia losing its religion?

Is Australia, as a nation, losing its religion?

The 2016 census suggests a trend in that direction.


The latest census shows one in three Australians identify with no religion.

It marks a huge change from the 1960s, when as many as 88 per cent identified as Christians.

The shifting of the category “no religion” to the top of the list of options on the census form and a campaign by the Atheism Association of Australia may have contributed.

Association president Kylie Sturgess explains.

“The census ‘no religion’ campaign was encouraging people to intellectually engage with the census. If you’re a Muslim, go right ahead, you put it down. Christian? Not a problem. But if you’re someone who feels like you’ve fallen through the gaps, that you are no longer someone who is being recognised by an established religion, then maybe ‘no religion,’ which was a non-compulsory question, is the answer for you.”

The data shows, while the numbers identifying with Christianity had an overall decline, it remains the top religion across all denominations.

More than half of all Australians still identify as Christian, and religious leaders say it does not necessarily mean people are losing faith.

The dean of Saint Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, Kanishka Raffel, sees reasons to believe otherwise.

“Sixty per cent of people say they identify with some religion. More than 50 per cent say that’s Christianity. Which means, I think, that religion is important to a lot of people … I think we could get very distorted impressions. Most people don’t necessarily say a lot about their religion, and that might make you think, ‘Oh, well, people aren’t religious.’ But if you ask them, you find (it’s) something that’s personally important to them.”

Other faiths besides Christianity are growing.

After Christianity, the top religions were:

Islam, which has grown from 2.1 per cent to 2.6 over 10 years.

Buddhism, which increased from 2.1 to 2.4 per cent .

And Hinduism, which grew from 0.7 to 1.9 per cent.

Social researcher Ashley Fell says Hinduism showed the most marked gain.

“While Islam has overtaken Buddhism as Australia’s second most popular religion, we are seeing that Hinduism is Australia’s fastest-growing religion. And, of course, that is because we are seeing an increase in the number of migrants moving to Australia from India.”

Australia’s increasing diversity can also be seen in the languages spoken in the country’s homes.

Mandarin has consolidated its position as the second most commonly spoken language in Australia after English.

Arabic came in third.

And Vietnamese and Cantonese speakers have overtaken Italian speakers in numbers.





Google fined a record A$3.5 billion

Hard-charging European Commission competition chief Margrethe Vestager said Google had “abused its market dominance” as the world’s most popular search engine to give illegal advantage to its own shopping service.


“What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate,” Vestager said in a statement.

“And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.”

The fine broke the previous EU record for a monopoly case against US chipmaker Intel of 1.06 billion euros.

The decision comes less than a year after Vestager shocked the world and Washington with an order that iPhone manufacturer Apple repay 13 billion euros in back taxes in Ireland.

Crucially for Google, Brussels has demanded that the US tech giant change the business model for Google Shopping to meet the EU’s concerns.

While an EU record, the amount is below the maximum possible of about 8.0 billion euros or 10 percent of Google’s total revenue last year.

Brussels accuses Google of giving its own online service, Google Shopping, too much priority in search results to the detriment of other price comparison services, such as TripAdvisor and Expedia.

The case, launched in 2010, is one of three against Google and of several against blockbuster US companies including Starbucks, Apple, Amazon and McDonalds.

Google maintains it’s trying to package its search results in a way that makes it easier for consumers to find what they want.

PNG election: Vote suspended in capital as three returning officers are detained

All voting in the Papua New Guinea capital due to start on Tuesday has been suspended, and three returning officers detained after allegedly being caught smuggling ballot boxes and carrying a quantity of cash.


The one day of voting allocated to Port Moresby has now been deferred to Friday.


The country’s election Commission took to Twitter to amke the announcement:

“Please put out an urgent public announcement advising voters in the nation’s capital that polling for all the three electorates for NCD now deferred to Friday 30 June due to issues with camping (sic) allowances for polling officials,” the Election Commission said in an email at 937 this morning.

0:00 Chaos in the Papua New Guinea election has caused voting in the capital to be postponed. SBS correspondent Stefan Armbruster reports from Port Moresby. Share Chaos in the Papua New Guinea election has caused voting in the capital to be postponed. SBS correspondent Stefan Armbruster reports from Port Moresby.

Police in the Port Moresby National Capital District detained several election officials and seized ballot papers from their vehicles outside a polling station this morning, and they are now being held at the Boroko police station.

The election commissioner is due to give a press conference later on Tuesday.

Delayed voting in the capital comes after only one of four Highlands provinces started their one day of allocated voting on Monday – in what was supposed to be the beginning of two weeks of widespread national polling.

Disputes over the electoral role and the controversy over the numbers of ballot papers issued saw voting deferred until Tuesday at the earliest in Chimbu, Hela and Western Highlands.

Sporadic voting occurred in the Eastern Highlands but some polling stations were only open for a couple of hours.

Goroka University vice-chancellor and thousands of students in the Eastern Highlands capital complained they had been left off the electoral roll despite applying to be registered. 



All polling in #PNG capital Port Moresby suspended until Friday: Election Commission. Follows Highlands chaos on Monday @SBSNews #democracy pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/Y1luNE0zWc

— Stefan Armbruster (@StefArmbruster) June 27, 2017

Poor bone health costing Australia billions, report finds

A failure to prevent fractures as a result of poor bone health is costing the nation billions of dollars each year, according to a new report.


Analysis released by Osteoporosis Australia estimates the brittle bones of Australians aged 50 and over is expected to cost $3.1 billion in 2017, this will climb to $21.9 billion by 2022.

Osteoporosis Australia Medical Director Professor Peter Ebeling AO says hospitals are becoming “revolving doors” for fracture patients because of a failure to detect or test for osteoporosis.

“Four-out-of-five Australians treated for an osteoporotic fracture are not tested for osteoporosis, and therefore, are not offered treatment for osteoporosis,” said Professor Ebeling.

There is a significant gap in osteoporosis care, he says, and greater awareness is needed to reduce the burden.

Osteoporosis is a disease that leads to reduced bone strength through a loss of density and quality, weakening the skeleton.

It affects 1.2 million Australians and is estimated to result in a bone being broken every 3.3 minutes.

Not only does osteoporosis have a burden on the hospital system, it has a human toll too.

A report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) last year showed one in 20 deaths in 2013 were directly caused by, or contributed to, by musculoskeletal conditions.

Osteoporosis made the greatest contribution to mortality – contributing to more than 1600 deaths.

The SOS Fracture Alliance, to be launched on Tuesday, will seek to increase national recognition of undiagnosed osteoporosis.

It’s aim is to make the first break in a osteoporosis patient their last.

“A broken bone is usually a sign that we need to take action to prevent more bone loss, as each fracture significantly raises the risk of a further fracture,” said Prof Ebeling.

‘We need to make Australia work again’: Abbott calls for halt to migration in new manifesto

A day after citing disloyalty and bad blood in federal Liberal Party ranks, Tony Abbott insists he isn’t going anywhere.


The former prime minister, in an address to the Institute of Public Affairs in Brisbane on Tuesday, outlined his fresh battle lines and noted the despondency in politics here and around the world.

“We need to make Australia work again, because our country plainly is not working as it should,” Mr Abbott said.

“We are letting ourselves down. We are not what we should be; and we know it. That’s why most of the attempted pep talks sound so hollow.”

‘No intention to leave public life’

Mr Abbott argued Australia had an abundance of energy resources, yet some of the highest power prices in the world.

Despite billions being poured into education recent schooling results placed Australia behind Kazakhstan.

Mr Abbott assured his audience he would not disappear from the limelight.

“I’m in no hurry to leave public life because we need strong liberal conservative voices now, more than ever,” he said.

In what appeared to be a dig at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Abbott cited a John Howard maxim: while compromise was necessary in politics, conviction was the foundation of success.

He renewed his call for a freeze of the renewable energy target, but added a moratorium on new wind farms.

Call to halt migration 

Mr Abbott again pushed the need for a slowdown in immigration, claiming it would address rising house prices and slow wages growth.

“It would give harder-to-assimilate recent migrants more time to integrate with the wider Australian community before many more came in,” he said.

“It would reassure Australians that our country is in our own hands and is being run in our best interests.”

Mr Abbott outlined his plans for a shake-up of how the Senate works, something he labelled the “mother of all reforms”.

He wants a referendum to reform the upper house, warning it has become a house of rejection, not review.

“All that can readily be passed today is legislation that a grab-bag of political competitors can be bought off to support,” he said.

0:00 Not interested in fake news: PM Turnbull Share Not interested in fake news: PM Turnbull