1289.0 - Standards for Statistics on Cultural and Language Diversity, 1999
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/11/1999
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STANDARD QUESTION MODULE
28. It is recommended that this question be asked directly wherever possible. However, various articulations of the question can be used in circumstances where a close relative, friend, or another member of the household is answering on behalf of an absent person. Respondents who answer for an absent person must have a reasonable knowledge of the absent person and feel confident about identifying the person's Indigenous Status.
29. Supplementary codes such as 'Not stated/inadequately described' should not be available as valid responses but can be used in data collections for operational purposes. Refer to Classification and Coding, Supplementary Codes for more information.
30. It is not possible to determine a person's Indigenous Status on the basis of appearance, surname or birthplace. To achieve an acceptable quality of Indigenous Status data, it is imperative that interviewers endeavour to apply the standard question module to all respondents and to record every response regardless of the person's appearance, name, country of birth or other perceptions about the person's background. Interviewer instructions and training are recommended as a means of minimising inappropriate discretion in applying the Indigenous Status question.
31. While interviewers should endeavour to apply the standard question module to all respondents, it is recognised that there are situations where data are collected as the by-product of an interview or counselling session dealing with sensitive issues. In these cases, clients may be distressed or confused and the service provider may consider it inappropriate to ask certain questions. If the Indigenous Status question is not asked under these circumstances, the interviewer should leave all response categories blank and the non response should be processed using the most appropriate supplementary code.
32. The terms 'Aboriginal' and 'Torres Strait Islander' are used in the question wording because they are widely accepted throughout Australia and are not offensive to Indigenous people. These terms should not be replaced in the question with other terms such as 'Koori' as terms relating to particular Aboriginal groups do not cover Torres Strait Islander people and other Aboriginal groups. Indigenous people who do not identify with alternative terms may resent having the terms applied to them or may respond 'No' to the question.
33. In circumstances where there is a need to collect data on particular Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander groups, such as Koori, Murri, or Meryam, the standard Indigenous Status question should continue to be asked first. It can be followed by an additional question that asks for the specific Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island group or groups with which the respondent identifies. Only those people who indicate they are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island origin should be asked any additional questions of this type. It is not the function of the Indigenous Status standard to collect data relating to particular Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander groups, and a standard question and set of response categories to collect this information have not been developed.
Self completed collections
34. Various articulations of the standard question are recommended to address the following circumstances in self completed collections. In each circumstance, the standard response categories and instructions should be used. An additional 'Yes, both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander' response category may be used if a data capture system is used that is unable to deal with multiple marked boxes.
Interviewer conducted collections
35. For interview conducted collections in which the Indigenous Status of one person is collected, the following question set is recommended:
36. The first question is used to sequence out non-Indigenous persons. The second question is used to determine the specific Indigenous origin of the person. A benefit of this approach is that the interviewer is not required to prompt the respondent with response categories.
37. The 'Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander' response category can be included or excluded in interviewer conducted collections depending on which option best suits the data collection practices of the agency concerned. Including the additional response category ensures that respondents are aware of the option to identify as being of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin.
38. Various articulations of the standard question are recommended to address the following circumstances:
39. For interview conducted collections in which the Indigenous Status of more than one person is collected from a household representative, the following question set is recommended:
40. The first question is used to sequence out households in which no Australian Indigenous people usually live (or are visiting). The second question is used to identify those usual residents (and visitors) of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. This approach eliminates the need to repeatedly ask the Indigenous Status question of each individual in a household when data are collected on a single household form. It is particularly advantageous when collecting from areas with a large proportion of non-Indigenous households.
STANDARD INPUT CATEGORIES
41. The input categories for Indigenous Status are derived from the answers to the relevant question in the question module and also includes the supplementary category:
42. See the section on Appropriate Labels, in the topic Output, for further information on alternative terminology.