2007.0.55.001 - Census of Population and Housing: Topic Directions, 2021  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/11/2018   
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Further information from the public consultation phase can be found here: Other topics

TopicsProposed actions

Australian Defence Force service (NEW)Moderate case for new topic. Will discuss with key stakeholders to confirm concepts to be included and questions to be tested.
Sexual orientation (NEW)Moderate case for new topic. Further discussion and testing will be undertaken to explore the suitability of collecting this topic in the Census.


Some submissions indicated a need for data on people who have served, or are currently serving, in the Australian Defence Force, including Reserves.

While records exist for current service, they are not maintained for previous service, and limited historical data is available. A question on current or past Australian Defence Force service has been included in several ABS health surveys. Collecting the data in the Census would allow stakeholders to more accurately estimate numbers of people who have served and to learn more about the veteran population based on age, sex, geographic distribution, and employment status.

Submissions identified veterans as a vulnerable group with potential to experience homelessness and to have specific health and disability needs. This topic would provide information to enable better delivery of services and support for veterans.

The ABS will continue to explore this topic through testing, engagement with key stakeholders and reference to international best practice.


A range of submissions noted the lack of information available on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and/or Intersex (LGBTI) individuals in Australia. Please note that LGBTI is respectfully being used as an umbrella term to refer collectively to a wider range of people than just those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or intersex. The use of this acronym is not intended to exclude people that may not be specifically represented by these or other terms.

It was noted in submissions that LGBTI individuals are diverse based on sexual orientation, gender identity and variations in sex characteristics. The review of options for collecting sex and/or gender identity (see the Population theme) has potential to provide some data on LGBTI individuals, depending on how collection is approached. To provide a more complete picture of the LGBTI communities in Australia, submissions suggested collecting data on sexual orientation as well.

By gathering statistics on sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status, government and non-government organisations would be able to plan, legislate and provide resources to support LGBTI people. Submissions noted that there is a need to effectively evaluate national programs such as the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan and the Aged Care Diversity Framework, which include the LGBTI communities as vulnerable priority groups for action.

The ABS recognises the sensitivity of the topic and concerns regarding the quality of the data that would be obtained, including where individuals respond on behalf of others in their household.

The ABS will engage with stakeholders on this topic. Concepts will be discussed at focus groups and questions tested to understand the potential opportunities and risks in collecting this data. Information from testing, advice from stakeholders and guidance from other national statistical agencies will be considered to determine suitability for the 2021 Census.

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