1. Since the time of British settlement, cultural and language diversity in Australia has been widely influenced by immigration. There is significant community interest in measuring the ethnic and cultural composition of the Australian population and in identifying the characteristics of particular migrant community groups. An important element of cultural and language diversity in Australia is the extent to which second generation Australians retain their parents' culture, ethnicity or language. Retention of cultural and language characteristics is determined by the variables Country of Birth of Father and Country of Birth of Mother, in association with variables such as language variables and Religious Affiliation.
2. Migrants and their descendants have been identified by programme developers and service providers as forming population groups that are likely to experience disadvantage when seeking to obtain equal access to government and community programmes and services in Australia. Data relating to Country of Birth of Father can thus be used to determine, measure and monitor service needs of second generation Australians (in terms of access and equity requirements), when used with other variables such as Country of Birth of Mother, language variables, Proficiency in Spoken English, and Religious Affiliation.
3. It should be noted however, that Country of Birth of Father when used with a range of other variables is able to measure cultural diversity in its broader sense. It may indicate the extent to which persons from certain backgrounds are associated with advantage, as well as measuring disadvantage in terms of access to services.
4. The variable Country of Birth of Father has been endorsed by the Ministerial Council of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs as one of the standard set of indicators for use in measuring cultural and linguistic diversity. The set is to be progressively implemented in administrative and service settings to provide data to determine, measure and monitor service needs (access and equity requirements), and to provide a measure of cultural diversity in its broader sense.