Chapter 22 - Social Justice and equity
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUITY
The ABS support for the Charter for Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society is demonstrated primarily through the provision of statistical information on specific population groups. This information is available to government and community groups and assists them to develop and monitor relevant fields, and by taking action to overcome linguistic and cultural barriers in the collection of data.
The ABS work program takes account of the Charter principles, and meets government needs for information to support social justice policies, by identifying specific population groups of policy interest in censuses and surveys concerned with various aspects of social wellbeing. Such population groups include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, migrants, people with disabilities, unemployed people, older Australians, women and children. During 2005–06, the ABS continued to provide data on population, families, health and welfare, education, employment, unemployment, underemployment, and other topics relating to labour force participation, earnings and income, housing and recorded crime and justice administration.
In 2005–06, the ABS released a range of statistical publications relevant to social justice and equity. Continuing its regular contribution to this area was Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0), an annual publication drawing on the ABS and other official statistics to inform on social conditions and wellbeing in Australia.
Findings from the first National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, conducted in 2004–05 were published in April 2006. The survey is part of the ongoing ABS Indigenous Australian household survey program and is specifically designed to address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health issues. It comprises a much larger sample (approximately 10,000 people) than previous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander supplements to the National Health Survey. The survey collected information about a range of health issues, including health status, long-term health conditions, risk factors, health-related actions, and women's health. National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, 2004–05 (cat. no. 4715.0) presents summary results at both the national and state/ territory levels and by remoteness categories. It also presents trends in Indigenous health over time and comparisons of the health characteristics of Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous people.
Comprehensive ABS data on the wealth of households across Australia was collected for the first time in the 2003–04 Survey of Income and Housing, and Household Wealth and Wealth Distribution, 2003–04 (cat. no. 6554.0) was released in April 2006. The publication presents estimates of household wealth, classified by various characteristics, including summary measures of the distribution of household net worth in Australia. Information about wealth and selected assets and liabilities are presented for different types of household composition, income, size and other characteristics.
The field phase of the 2005–06 Personal Safety Survey was conducted from August to December 2005. This survey collected data on people's safety at home and in the community and, in particular, on the nature and extent of violence against women and men in Australia. When published, the data will provide information to inform public debate about violence against men and women. It will also inform the further development and evaluation of policies and programs aimed at prevention and response to violence. The results will be published in August 2006.
New questions about unpaid work and need for assistance have been introduced for the 2006 Census. The unpaid work questions cover unpaid domestic work, unpaid care for someone due to a disability, long-term illness or old age, unpaid child care, and voluntary work. These questions will assist in understanding the contribution of unpaid work to Australian society. They will help in the planning of local facilities and services, such as day care and occasional care, and in the provision of information and support to carers. The questions on need for assistance aim to measure the number of people who need help with everyday activities such as self care, getting out of bed or moving around the home, and communicating with others. Understanding the number of people requiring assistance or supervision in these areas will provide a picture of the level of assistance needed, and will assist in the planning of local facilities and services.