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8 The FCA and FMC will still accept a divorce application whether or not a separated couple seek the services of an FRC. However, a separating couple may choose to use the services of an FRC. The Commonwealth Government intends evaluating the effect of the FRCs. The form and timing of the evaluation is not yet known by the FCA, and it is not known if a quantitative measure of the efficacy of FRCs with respect to reducing divorces will be available. Therefore, if a decline in the number of divorces in future years is apparent, it should not necessarily be attributed to the introduction of FRCs without supporting evidence. It should be noted that the number of divorces has been in decline since 2001.
Introduction of Federal Magistrates Court 2000
9 Since September 2000, Family Court Registries have supplied data on divorces granted by both the Family Court of Australia and the newly formed Federal Magistrates Court of Australia (formerly known as the Federal Magistrates Service). The FCA and the FMC are independent courts of justice that have concurrent jurisdiction in some areas of Federal Law, including Family Law.
10 Due to the opening of the FMC and the transfer of cases that has occurred between the FCA and the FMC, it is possible that the number of divorces granted in the year 2000 may include a small number of duplicate records. It is estimated by the FCA that the numbers are statistically insignificant (about 0.02%). An initial lag in the introduction of FMC hearings in 2000 and the subsequent processing of the backlog in 2001 may account for some of the decrease in divorces granted in 2000 (5% decrease compared with 1999) and increase in divorces granted in 2001 (11% increase compared with 2000).
Changes in provision and processing of data since 2002
11 The FCA provided the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) with electronic files, containing divorce data from each Court Registry as well as the FMC and the Family Court of Western Australia. From 2002 onwards, monthly data was replaced by the provision of an annual file. This arrangement led to a delay in the release of 2002 divorce data and the unavailability of country of birth data for 2002.
12 In 2005 and 2006, all divorce processing was completed by the FCA rather than the ABS. Under these new arrangements, the medians at the total level for specific geographical regions in tables 5 and 6 are not available (eg. total of Oceania and Antarctica, total North-West Europe, etc).
Changes to data items since 2002
13 As part of the new data provision arrangements between the FCA and ABS in 2002, a number of data items ceased to be collected. These included:
STATE AND TERRITORY DATA
State or territory of usual residence
14 Details of divorce on a state or territory of usual residence at separation basis are considered to be a more accurate reflection of divorce in states and territories in Australia than are those provided on a state or territory of registration basis. These details are, however, only available for 1993 and 1994.
15 Data for subsequent years are only available based on state or territory of registration and are not a reliable proxy for usual residence because some Family Courts have responsibility for hearing divorce cases relating to other states or territories. The Family Courts most affected are Brisbane and the Australian Capital Territory.
16 The Brisbane Family Court, prior to 2002, heard divorce cases from areas in Northern NSW. In 2002 and 2003 these cases were dealt with by the Newcastle Family Court. From 2004 these responsibilities were transferred back to the Brisbane Family Court and Brisbane Federal Magistrates Court.
17 The Australian Capital Territory Family Court hears cases from much of south-eastern New South Wales and part of Victoria. Another factor that impacts on the difference between state or territory of usual residence and state or territory of registration, is that many applications are lodged at the nearest Family Court rather than the court in their state or territory of usual residence at separation.
18 Divorces of persons usually resident in Other Territories are registered in the nearest state or territory. For example, divorces of residents of Jervis Bay would generally be registered in NSW.
State or territory of registration
19 The state and territory classification used in this product relates to state or territory of registration which is based on the location of the Family Court or Federal Magistrates Court where the divorce is granted and registered. These data can give a biased view of divorces in states and territories, as explained in the preceding paragraphs. Due to the large number of divorces granted in the Australian Capital Territory to usual residents of other states and territories, the crude divorce rate and age specific divorce rates of the Australian Capital Territory are not produced in this publication.
20 For Western Australia, there was an increase in the number of divorces 2005 which was a correction from record low numbers in 2004. The low numbers in 2004 were due to a reduction in the late processing of 2003 divorces i.e. more 2003 divorce applications were actually processed in 2003, rather than being processed in early 2004. (In general, around 25% of divorces applied for in a particular year are registered in the following year). According to the FCA, the number of divorces registered in 2005 and 2006 is considered more typical for WA. The national trend has been a slight decrease in the number of divorces since 2001 and WA figures are in line with this.
ESTIMATED RESIDENT POPULATION (ERP)
21 Marital status data used in the publication are final at 30 June of each year shown and are only available in census years. This is the first year marital status data for 2006 have been available and are based on the 2006 Census of Population and Housing. This impacts on the data available on first marriage and remarriage rates.
22 For data by marital status, persons aged 14 years and under are automatically classified as never married.
Reliability of estimates
23 To meet the conflicting demand for accuracy and timeliness there are three estimates of ERP. At the national and state/territory levels preliminary estimates are available six months after the reference date, revised estimates are available months after the end of the financial year and final estimates after the following census. The estimates in this publication, with the exception of marital status estimates for which 2002 and 2003 data are not available, are final for the years prior to 2002; revised for 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005; and preliminary for 2006.
Reliability of estimates
24 Statistics are shown in units without being rounded. However, accuracy down to the last unit is not claimed and should not be assumed.
States and territories
25 As a result of an amendment, made in 1992, to the Acts Interpretation Act, the Indian Ocean Territories of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands have been included as part of geographic Australia, hence another category of the state and territory classification has been created. This category, known as Other Territories, includes Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Jervis Bay Territory.
Country of birth
26 The classification of countries in this publication is the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC). For more detailed information refer to the ABS publication Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) (cat. no. 1269.0). The SACC is also available in electronic form: Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) - on Floppy Disk (cat. no. 1269.0.15.001).
Suppression of small cells - Table 7
27 Up to and including 2003, randomisation was used to protect confidentiality of cells with small values in table 7. From 2004 onwards, a different method of confidentialising was used. Therefore, 2003 and 2004 data for Table 7 cannot be compared. However, it is valid to make comparisons between years up to 2003 and between years 2004 to 2006.
RELATED PRODUCTS AND STATISTICS
28 There are many ABS publications that may be of interest. A useful listing of related publications is available on the ABS website <http://www.abs.gov.au> under Statistics by Topic > Population/People. All publications released from 1998 onwards are available free of charge on the web site. Please note, older publications may no longer be available through ABS bookshops but are available through ABS libraries. Some ABS publications which may be of interest are listed below:
Australian Demographic Statistics, (cat. no. 3101.0) - issued quarterly
Australian Historical Population Statistics, (cat. no. 3105.0.65.001).
Australian Social Trends, (cat. no. 4102.0) - issued annually
Demographic Estimates and Projections: Concepts, Sources and Methods, Statistical Concepts Library.
Divorces, Australia, (cat. no. 3307.0) - issued annually back to 1993
Estimated Resident Population by Marital Status, Age and Sex, Australia, (cat. no. 3220.0) - issued annually back to 1993
Family Characteristics, Australia (cat. no. 4442.0) - issued 1997
Marriages, Australia, (cat. no. 3306.0) - issued annually back to 1993
Marriages, Australia, (cat. no. 3306.0.55.001) - issued annually from 2003
Marriages and Divorces, Australia, (cat. no. 3310.0) - issued annual from 1994 to 2002
Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories, (cat. no. 3201.0) - issued annually
Population Projections, Australia, 1999 to 2101, (cat. no. 3222.0) - issued August 2000
Standard Classification of Countries (SACC), (cat. no. 1269.0) - issued 1998
29 A compendium of demographic data for each state and territory has been released annually in state and territory specific electronic products, Demography (cat. nos 3311.0-8.55.001) since the 2002 reference year. This compendium data are also available in hardcopy form between reference years 1996 to 2001 (cat. nos 3311.1-8) . Should users require detailed state and territory data on marriages, divorces or ERP prior to the release of these compendia please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
30 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (cat. no. 1101.0). The Catalogue is available from any ABS office or the ABS web site <http://www.abs.gov.au>. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.
Additional statistics available
31 As well as the statistics included in this and related products, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
32 There are various special articles containing information on marriages, divorces, children, families and general living arrangements. Many of these articles can be found in Australian Social Trends (cat no. 4102.0). If this publication is accessed on the ABS website it includes a cumulative list of all articles. Other articles can also be found in Year Book Australia (cat no. 1301.0) and Household and Family Projections, Australia, 2001 to 2026 (cat no. 3236.0).
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