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A question on religious denomination has been included in all Australian censuses, but answering this question has always been optional. The option not to answer this question is provided for in legislation.
Responses to the religion question are coded to the Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups.
Data on religious affiliation are used for such purposes as planning educational facilities, aged persons' care and other social services provided by religion-based organisations; the location of church buildings; the assigning of chaplains to hospitals, prisons, armed services and universities; the allocation of time on public radio and other media; and sociological research.