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Census Independent Assurance Panel


The Australian Statistician is establishing the 2016 Census Independent Assurance Panel to provide an independent view of the quality of statistical outputs from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. The panel should request and review all information it considers relevant in order to form a judgment and report on the quality of 2016 Census statistics.


The panel shall provide a written report no later than 16 June 2017 to the Australian Statistician giving its view on aspects of quality of 2016 Census outputs, having considered issues including, but not limited to Census design, enumeration, processing and quality assurance. The quality should be assessed using the quality of outputs from the 2011 and 2006 Censuses as benchmarks.

This report will be made publicly available on 27 June 2017, so that government, the community and other stakeholders can make their own informed judgments about the fitness-of-purpose of 2016 Census data.

Composition and tenure

The membership of the panel is:
  • Chair – Professor Sandra Harding, Vice Chancellor and President of James Cook University
  • Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver, Pro Vice-Chancellor Engagement and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership at the University of Western Sydney and member of the Australian Statistical Advisory Council
  • Professor Peter McDonald, Head of Demography within the Centre for Health Policy, University of Melbourne
  • Peter Morrison, former Assistant Chief Canadian Statistician who was responsible for running the Canadian Census
  • Dennis Trewin, ex-Australian Statistician (2000-2007)
  • Anton Voss, Deputy Secretary, Tasmanian Department of Treasury and Finance and member of the Australian Statistical Advisory Council

The panel will be active from November 2016 until late June 2017, when the panel’s report is released on 27 June 2017. The official release of 2016 Census data, rebased Estimated Resident Population data, and results of the Post Enumeration Survey will also be released on 27 June 2017.

Committee practices

It is anticipated that the panel will meet approximately 7 times during its tenure, particularly around key times in Census processing i.e. as relevant information becomes available.

The panel shall be free to request any information from the ABS it sees as relevant in order for it to form its view, and the ABS shall comply with all such requests in a timely manner (as long as they are consistent with relevant legislation such as the Census and Statistics Act).

The panel will be supported by a Secretariat, headed by Sue Taylor, Director, Census Data Assurance.

2016 Census



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