Lord Downer of Adelaide Hills has called for assurances that the 2021 Census in August will feature changes he has long urged upon the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
His Lordship yesterday called together representatives of the media at his family seat Pout House to press his case for changes to questions due to be posed by the census on 10 August.
His scheduled news conference was delayed several hours due to precautions he said were necessary because of the ongoing need for social distancing as well as the coronavirus pandemic.
After arriving at the gates of Pout House, reporters, photographers, and camera operators were refused admission to the grounds by an under-footman until they could produce evidence of their family lineage.
After being admitted through the gates, media representatives were arranged on one side of the Pout House moat in an order which a butler explained had been decided by Lord Downer himself based on the information provided at the gates to the under-footman.
His Lordship finally appeared across the moat and above a hedge, visible only from the waist up due to the fact he was standing, somewhat unsteadily he conceded, on the arched backs of two page boys.
Lord Downer added, somewhat redundantly but nevertheless in an excited tone, that both page boys were “hugely muscled” for their ages and were clad in nil but see-through muslin breeches.
“Our national census occurs every five years,” Lord Downer began. “It is meant to provide us with a picture, nay a snapshot to coin a modern term, of who lives in our nation.
“However, for some years now I have held concerns that the information being collected is, in some cases, insufficient, and in other cases, simply useless for those of us who take an interest in and help direct the public affairs of our nation.
“For example, why do we need to know the number of Australians who can best be described as being of the lower orders?
“Riff-raff, scallywags, nabobs, and frightful swells have no right to be counted as their contribution to our nation is merely to serve those of us born of higher and better stock.
“Why should those of us who matter need to know the numerical strength of those who have been too short-sighted to inherit their own landholdings, property, and titles?”
At that point Lord Downer paused and, speaking to nobody in particular, began to muse on variations of word combinations rhyming with “those who matter” until an unknown voice behind the hedge urged him to desist and continue his address.
Doing just that, His Lordship declared: “All we need to know from the census about the hoi polloi is that we, as their betters, have ongoing access to a ready supply of them to meet our needs such as running a household like my own gorgeous Pout House.
“I have been pressing upon the ABS the need for changing our census questions so that we can better plan our nation’s future and I look forward to hearing far more sensible questions this year when my senior butler reads them to me on census night.”
Lord Downer then disappeared from view although his voice could still be heard, albeit in a noticeably higher register, directing the unseen pageboys to remove their breeches and use them to mop his brow before carrying him back to Pout House.