1200.0.55.008 - Indigenous Status Standard , 2014, Version 1.5  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/10/2014  First Issue
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COLLECTION OF VARIABLE DATA

SCOPE

Indigenous Status is an attribute of the counting unit 'person'.

STANDARD QUESTION MODULE

1. [Are you] [Is the person] [Is (name)] of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?
(For persons of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin, mark both 'Yes' boxes.)
No
Yes, Aboriginal
Yes, Torres Strait Islander

It is recommended that this question be asked directly wherever possible. However, various articulations of the question can be used in circumstances where a close relative, friend, or another member of the household is answering on behalf of an absent person. Respondents who answer for an absent person must have a reasonable knowledge of the absent person and feel confident about identifying the person's Indigenous Status.

Supplementary codes such as 'Not stated/inadequately described' should not be available as valid responses but can be used in data collections for operational purposes. Refer to Supplementary Codes, within the section: Processing the data for more information.

It is not possible to determine a person's Indigenous Status on the basis of appearance, surname or birthplace. To achieve an acceptable quality of Indigenous Status data, it is imperative that interviewers endeavour to apply the standard question module to all respondents and to record every response regardless of the person's appearance, name, country of birth or other perceptions about the person's background. Interviewer instructions and training are recommended as a means of minimising inappropriate discretion in applying the Indigenous Status question.

While interviewers should endeavour to apply the standard question module to all respondents, it is recognised that there are situations where data are collected as the by-product of an interview or counselling session dealing with sensitive issues. In these cases, clients may be distressed or confused and the service provider may consider it inappropriate to ask certain questions. If the Standard Indigenous Question is not asked under these circumstances, the interviewer should leave all response categories blank and the non-response should be processed using the most appropriate supplementary code.

The terms 'Aboriginal' and 'Torres Strait Islander' are used in the question wording because they are generally accepted throughout Australia. These terms should not be replaced in the question with other terms such as 'Koori' as terms relating to particular Aboriginal groups do not cover Torres Strait Islander people and other Aboriginal groups. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who do not identify with alternative terms may resent having the terms applied to them or may respond 'No' to the question.

In circumstances where there is a need to collect data on particular Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander groups, such as Koori, Murri, or Meryam, the Standard Indigenous Question should continue to be asked first. It can be followed by an additional question that asks for the specific Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island group or groups with which the respondent identifies. Only those people who indicate they are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island origin should be asked any additional questions of this type. It is not the function of the Indigenous Status standard to collect data relating to particular Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander groups, and a standard question and set of response categories to collect this information have not been developed.

1. Self completed collections

Various articulations of the standard question are recommended to address the following circumstances in self-completed collections. In each circumstance, the standard response categories and instructions should be used. An additional 'Yes, both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander' response category may be used if a data capture system is used that is unable to deal with multiple marked boxes.

Question answered by the person

This question wording is recommended when it is known that the person filling in the form is the subject:
Q1. Are you of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?

Someone else who knows the person well answers

This question wording is recommended when another member of the household answers for the person. For example, a family member may complete a census form on behalf of his or her family.

Q1. Is the person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?

Person is not present and someone else transcribes response from administrative data

This question wording is recommended when the form is being completed by a third person from information available on administrative databases such as criminal justice collections, hospital records and schools data:

Q1. Is the person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?

2. Interviewer conducted collections

For interview conducted collections in which the Indigenous Status of one person is collected, the following question set is recommended:

Q1. Are you of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?
Yes
No (No more questions)

Q2. Are you of Aboriginal origin, Torres Strait Islander origin, or both?
Aboriginal
Torres Strait Islander
Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

The first question is used to sequence out non-Indigenous persons. The second question is used to determine the specific Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin of the person. A benefit of this approach is that the interviewer is not required to prompt the respondent with response categories.

The 'Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander' response category can be included or excluded in interviewer conducted collections depending on which option best suits the data collection practices of the agency concerned. Including the additional response category ensures that respondents are aware of the option to identify as being of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin.

Various articulations of the standard question are recommended to address the following circumstances:

Person is present and answers

This question wording is recommended where it is known that the person being interviewed is the subject:

Q1. Are you of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?
Q2. Are you of Aboriginal origin, Torres Strait Islander origin, or both?

Person is not present and someone else who knows the person well answers

The following question wording is recommended when another member of the household answers for the person. Examples of such incidents include: parents answering for children, or relatives answering in hospital situations.

Q1. Is [the person] [(name)] of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?
Q2. Is [the person] [(name)] of Aboriginal origin, Torres Strait Islander origin, or both?

Person is deceased and someone else answers on their behalf (e.g. death information form)

In these circumstances a close relative or friend should answer. Only if a relative or friend is unavailable should the undertaker or other such person answer. The suggested question wording follows:

Q1. Was [the person] [(name)] of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?
Q2. Was [the person] [(name)] of Aboriginal origin, Torres Strait Islander origin, or both?

Person is an infant and parents answer (e.g. perinatal information form)

In this circumstance it is recommended that parents are asked:

Q1. Is [the baby's] [(name)'s] mother of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?
Q2. Is [the baby's] [(name)'s] mother of Aboriginal origin, Torres Strait Islander origin, or both?

and

Q1. Is [the baby's] [(name)'s] father of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?
Q2. Is [the baby's] [(name)'s] father of Aboriginal origin, Torres Strait Islander origin, or both?

For interview conducted collections in which the Indigenous Status of more than one person is collected from a household representative, the following question set is recommended:

Q1. Is anyone who (usually lives here) (or) (is visiting here) of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?
Yes
No

Q2. Who are they?

Question 3 is asked of each person identified as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin.

Q3. [Are you] [Is (name)] of Aboriginal origin, Torres Strait Islander origin, or both?
Aboriginal
Torres Strait Islander
Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

The first question is used to sequence out households in which no Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people usually live (or are visiting). The second question is used to identify those usual residents (and visitors) of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. This approach eliminates the need to repeatedly ask the Standard Indigenous Question of each individual in a household when data are collected on a single household form. It is particularly advantageous when collecting from areas with a large proportion of non-Indigenous households.

SUPPORTING VARIABLES

Indigenous Status does not require any supporting variables.