Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Saving the Australian Census

Save the Census: "The next Australian census will be conduced on the night of Tuesday 8 August 2006 and will cost in the order of 300 million dollars. It will contain 61 questions, of which all but two will be compulsory except the ones on religion and retention.

The Census Information Legislation Amendement Bill (2005) was introduced into the House of Representatives of the Australian Parliament on 3 November 2005 and passed later that month unopposed. It was passed by the Australian Senate on 27 February 2006 and is awaiting Royal Assent before it becomes law.

The Bill amends the Census and Statistics Act (1905) and the Archives Act (1983) relating to the retention of identified census information by the National Archives of Australia. The Bill ensures that name identified information collected in all future Australian censuses will be preserved for future genealogical and other research.

Retention only applies to information supplied by those households that provide explicit consent on the census form. Some 51 percent of Australian's voted 'YES' to the retention of their forms in the 2001 census survey.

As with the 2001 survey, there will be a closed access period of 99 years rather than the usual Archives Act closed-access period. During the 99 year period, the name identified information will not be released under any circumstances."


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