1001.0 - Annual Report - ABS Annual Report, 2004-05  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/10/2005   
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Authority and Legislation

Principal legislation determining the functions and responsibilities of the ABS are the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 and the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

The functions of the ABS are defined in section 6 of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 as follows:

‘(a) to constitute the central statistical authority for the Australian Government and, by arrangements with the governments of the states, provide statistical services for those Governments;

(b) to collect, compile, analyse and disseminate statistics and related information;

(c) to ensure coordination of the operations of official bodies in the collection, compilation and dissemination of statistics and related information, with particular regard to:

    (i) the avoidance of duplication in the collection by official bodies of information for statistical purposes;

    (ii) the attainment of compatibility between, and the integration of, statistics compiled by official bodies; and

    (iii) the maximum possible utilisation, for statistical purposes, of information, and means of collection of information, available to official bodies;
(d) to formulate, and ensure compliance with, standards for the carrying out by official bodies of operations for statistical purposes;

(e) to provide advice and assistance to official bodies in relation to statistics; and

(f) to provide liaison between Australia, on the one hand, and other countries and international organisations, on the other hand, in relation to statistical matters.’

The Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 also established the Australian Statistics Advisory Council (ASAC). Subsection 18(1) of the Act specifies that the functions of the Council are to advise the Minister and the Australian Statistician in relation to:

‘(a) the improvement, extension and coordination of statistical services provided for public purposes in Australia;

(b) annual and longer term priorities and programs of work that should be adopted in relation to major aspects of the provision of those statistical services; and

(c) any other matters relating generally to those statistical services.’

Council members are drawn from a wide variety of organisations concerned with most major economic and social issues, as well as from Australian, state and territory governments.

The Census and Statistics Act 1905 provides the Australian Statistician with the authority to conduct statistical collections and, when necessary, to direct a person to provide statistical information. While the ABS always endeavours to seek willing compliance from providers, occasionally the Statistician directs providers to provide required information. Information on notices of direction and prosecutions which follow are shown in Appendix 15.

The Census and Statistics Act 1905 requires the ABS to publish and disseminate compilations and analyses of statistical information and to maintain the secrecy of information collected under the Act.

The Statistics Determination made by the Minister under section 13 of the Census and Statistics Act 1905 enables the Australian Statistician to disclose certain classes of information. Proposals for the collection of information for statistical purposes are tabled in both Houses of Parliament, in accordance with clause 6 of the Statistics Determination. The requests tabled in 2004–05 are shown in Appendix 13. Details of disclosures of unidentified information under clause 7 of the Statistics Determination are shown in Appendix 14.

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