Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people occupy a unique place in Australian society and culture. Accurate and time comparable statistics in this area are needed in order to understand and measure wellbeing of Australia's Indigenous peoples to help formulate policies to plan, promote, deliver and evaluate essential services to achieve positive social and economic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people [Endnote 1].
In Australia, the method for collecting information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is through self-identification questions. The ABS Standard Indigenous Question (SIQ) is used in all ABS data collections, and is also used across a wide range of government agencies and Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations [Endnote 2].
The statistical variable 'Indigenous Status' is endorsed by the Ministerial Council of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs as one of the four Minimum Core Indicators of the standard set of indicators for use in measuring cultural and linguistic diversity [Endnote 3]. The standard is also supported by the Council of Australia Governments in schedule F of the National Indigenous Reform Agreement which states that “all jurisdictions will adopt the standard ABS Indigenous question and recording categories on data collection forms and information systems for key data sets” [Endnote 4].
- Productivity Commission, 2011. Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage. Key Indicators 2011. Commonwealth of Australia.
- Petry, B, and Potts, E, 2014. 'Measuring indigenous populations across nations: Challenges for methodological alignment'. Statistical Journal of the IAOS. V30, pp. 55-63.
- Commonwealth Interdepartmental Committee on Multicultural Affairs, 2001. The Guide: Implementing the Standards for Statistics on Cultural and Language Diversity, Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.
- Council of Australian Governments (COAG). National Indigenous Reform Agreement (Closing the gap).