Australian Bureau of Statistics
1289.0 - Standards for Statistics on Cultural and Language Diversity, 1999
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/11/1999
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NAME OF THE VARIABLE
6. Australia has two groups of Indigenous people - the Aboriginal peoples and the Torres Strait Islanders. This variable indicates whether or not an individual is of Aboriginal origin or Torres Strait Islander origin. Since the term 'Aboriginality' excludes Torres Strait Islanders it is not suitable as a title for the variable. 'Indigenous Status' best captures this concept. 'Indigenous' is a commonly understood term covering all Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The acronym 'ATSI' should be avoided as it is offensive to some Indigenous peoples; the ABS has received a written request from the Chief Executive Officer of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) not to use this term. See Measurement Issues for detailed guidelines on terminology.
7. 'Indigenous Status' is the term the ABS uses when referring to the variable which indicates whether or not a person identifies as being of Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. It has replaced the following terms:
8. The terms 'Indigenous' and 'Aboriginal(s)' should always be capitalised when referring to Indigenous Australians and Australian Aboriginal(s). These terms do not need capitals when used in a general sense to refer to the original inhabitants of other countries.
DEFINITION OF THE VARIABLE
9. The following definition, commonly known as 'The Commonwealth Definition', was given in a High Court judgement in the case of Commonwealth v Tasmania (1983) 46 ALR 625.
10. The Commonwealth Definition is used as the nominal definition.
11. Indigenous Status is an attribute of the counting unit 'person'.
12. In statistical collections and most administrative collections, it is not feasible to collect information on the community acceptance component of the nominal definition. Therefore, the community acceptance criterion is not included in the operational definition.
13. The operational definition of Indigenous Status is:
14. The term 'origin', when used in the context of the operational definition, is considered to relate to people's Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and for some, but not all, their cultural identity.
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