2007.0.55.001 - Census of Population and Housing: Submissions Report, 2016  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/09/2013  First Issue
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Submissions on topics recommended for review in the November 2012 Consultation information paper

4.1 The 2012 ABS Consultation information paper, Census of Population and Housing: Consultation on Content and Procedures, 2016 (cat. no. 2007.0) described the topics to be included in the 2016 Census under four categories: those recommended to be retained, those recommended to be reviewed, those recommended to be excluded and new topics to be considered for inclusion. These were the preliminary categories specified in the 2012 ABS Consultation information paper prior to public consultation.

4.2 Below is a summary of the key themes emerging from submissions received on topics recommended for review. Please note that topics on which there were no submissions are not referred to in this paper. For references to the 2011 Census questions by topic, please see Appendix 1: 2011 Census Household Form questions in the Explanatory Notes of this publication.

4.3 The ABS recommended in its 2012 Consultation information paper that this topic be reviewed in conjunction with the topic country of birth of parents to determine priority, relevance and suitability. Twenty nine submissions were received on this topic and two of the 29 requested the removal of this topic in favour of the country of birth of parents topic or making the topic optional.

4.4 The ABS was also seeking views on whether this topic could potentially be included on every second Census (i.e. on a 10-yearly cycle) rather than on every Census (i.e. a five-yearly cycle). There was strong support for collection of this topic on a five-yearly cycle rather than the proposed 10-yearly cycle. One submission tentatively supported collection on a 10-yearly cycle if other quality information was to be available.

4.5 Generally, the majority of submissions received (25 out of the 29) supported inclusion of this topic in the 2016 Census. It was noted that the question helps to identify inter-generational patterns and also captures information on groups that are potentially missed in the country of birth of parents or main language other than English spoken at home topics. Submitters made suggestions/requests which included:

  • changing the wording of the question to include terms such as 'ethnicity' or 'culture'
  • collecting information on up to four ancestries and also information on the age of ancestors
  • expanding the list from which to select ancestry.

Australian citizenship
4.6 In the 2012 ABS Consultation information paper, this topic was recommended to be reviewed, to investigate the suitability of alternative data sources, such as administrative data. It was also suggested that there will be consideration of expanding the question to enable respondents to record the actual country of citizenship, if not Australian.

4.7 Twelve submissions were received on this topic and all requested that the topic be retained for the 2016 Census. Requests for expansion of the question was a common theme and included suggestions for the collection of information on:
  • actual country of citizenship if other than Australia
  • holders of dual citizenship
  • the country in which the respondent was a citizen when born
  • date on which citizenship of Australia was granted
  • residency status.
Country of birth of parents
4.8 In its 2012 Consultation information paper the ABS noted that data on person’s ethnic and/or cultural origins are in high demand and this information is useful for population groups which are unable to be identified through the other ethnicity questions. The ABS recommended a review of this topic be undertaken in conjunction with the ancestry topic in order to determine priority, relevance and suitability of the data, and sought input from the data users.

4.9 Twenty submissions were received and the majority of them wanted the topic to be retained, as it is used in conjunction with other variables like Country of birth of person, Ancestry and Year of Arrival to provide detailed information on culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Submitters generally requested expansion of the topic to collect the actual country of birth of parent rather than only Australia and Overseas.

Government/Non-Government employer
4.10 In its 2012 Consultation information paper the ABS considered this topic rates less highly on the assessment criteria than other topics, and was therefore reviewing its relevance for inclusion in the Census.

4.11 Ten submissions were received and all requested retention of the topic in the 2016 Census. A small number suggested these changes:
  • to include non-profit organisations
  • to break down the categories into local, state and federal government.

Internet access
4.12 For this topic, the 2012 ABS Consultation information paper sought justification for the ongoing collection of information about internet access and the relative priorities of the potential components of this topic (i.e. type of dwelling internet connection, personal access to the internet or personal use of the internet).

4.13 Eighteen submissions were received on this topic. All but one supported retention of this topic in the 2016 Census and commented on the components (see paragraph 4.12) within this topic. The main suggestions were:
  • to change the question to collect data on personal use of the internet (i.e. the reasons why people use the internet) with just about half the submissions requesting this
  • to have a more detailed question on the type of internet connection used (six submissions requested this)
  • to collect information on the number and type of devices used to access the internet in a household (three submissions asked for this information).
4.14 The single submission advocating exclusion of this topic did so on the basis of the current wide availability of the internet in a variety of modes, claiming that this reduced its relevance and/or priority as a Census topic.Need for assistance
4.15 In its 2012 Consultation information paper, the ABS noted the need for assistance topic is designed to provide information on people who have a profound or severe core activity limitation, and that it was considering recent international recommendations on disability questions suitable for Censuses.

4.16 Twenty two submissions were received on this topic and all favoured retention of the topic in the 2016 Census. Some submissions sought a variation to the topic to provide a measure of all people with disability, and including information on extent and type of disability. Other submissions supported the existing measure because of the focus on need for assistance, rather than a measure of all people with disability who may or may not have a need for assistance.

4.17 The following changes with respect to measuring need for assistance were suggested:
  • capture reasons for needing help with each core activity (i.e. self-care, mobility and communication)
  • distinguish between when assistance is always and sometimes needed
  • include people who do not need assistance from others, but who use equipment, aids and modifications to undertake the core activities
  • expand activities requiring assistance to include other life domains (e.g. learning and personal interaction)
  • add additional questions to identify whether people with a need for assistance have a carer, and link people with a need for assistance with people providing care who reside in the same household
  • add additional questions to investigate barriers to participation.

Status in employment
4.18 In the 2012 Consultation information paper, the ABS considered that this topic rated less highly on the assessment criteria than other topics and sought user justification for its ongoing inclusion. It was also noted that, if continued, the output classification for this topic would incorporate information on employment type.

4.19 Nine submissions were received with most in favour of retaining this topic. Some noted support for the amalgamation of employment type and status in employment topics. Other submissions described perceived weaknesses in the current concept, noting that the existing question may not capture the true employment profiles of respondents due to the time period.

4.20 Suggestions to change the question and gather extra information were made which included the addition of:
  • questions with a financial year time period, for example capturing the estimated proportion of time spent working in the last financial year (in percentages, weeks or months) and the time spent under-employed or unemployed over the period
  • questions to capture gender disaggregated statistics on entrepreneurship (whether self-employed, and if so the reasons for self-employment)
  • questions on multiple job holding, hours at the main job and at other jobs
  • questions to determine the number of owner managers of incorporated and unincorporated enterprises and to capture the number of people who describe themselves as a ‘self-employed contractor’.
Unpaid work
4.21 For this topic, the 2012 ABS Consultation information paper noted plans to review outcomes from the 2011 Census in terms of data quality, the usefulness of the information obtained through the questions and the appropriateness of the 2016 Census as a vehicle for the collection of data related to unpaid work. The ABS was therefore seeking justification that the Census is the most appropriate vehicle for the collection of this information, and also sought information on whether any components of this topic have higher priority than other components and the relative priority of a potential new component on main activity of people not in the labour force.

4.22 The components of unpaid work are:
  • unpaid domestic work
  • unpaid care of others due to disability, illness or old age
  • unpaid care of children
  • voluntary work.

4.23 Twenty four submissions were received on this topic and all but one submission supported retention. The submissions commented on the different components of unpaid work, with some suggesting changes. The general suggestions included:
  • adding a question about the main activity of a person not in the labour force
  • asking for further information such as details of the respondent’s access to parental leave and child care arrangements.

4.24 In relation to unpaid domestic work, it was suggested that:
  • a tally of the hours spent in various areas of unpaid work be collected.

4.25 For unpaid care of others due to disability, illness or old age it was suggested to:
  • collect information on all carers not just those aged over 15 years
  • add an additional question to determine if the person being cared for is elderly
  • move the positioning of the question so it is located closer to the question about need for assistance
  • change the reference period to match the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers.

4.26 A number of suggestions on specific components of voluntary work were received:
  • collection of information on specific kinds of volunteering
  • collection of information on hours spent volunteering
  • inclusion of more explanatory notes about the volunteering question
  • changing the question wording to recognise other valid types of volunteering not done through an organisation or group
  • inclusion of volunteering as a separate question.