27 July 2023 – Equality Australia has welcomed the shortlist of new topics for the next Census and urged the Federal Government to make sure LGBTIQ+ people are properly counted in 2026.
Gender, sexual orientation and variations of sex characteristics have been included in the proposed shortlist published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Thursday as well as improvements to existing topics to better reflect diverse family structures.
The ABS will make a final recommendation to the Federal Government next year after a second phase of public consultation.
“The next Census should reflect the diversity of the Australian community and finally count everyone properly,” said Equality Australia’s Legal Director Ghassan Kassisieh.
“Thousands of LGBTIQ+ people and rainbow families were rendered invisible in 2021 because the Census failed to ask appropriate questions about who we are and how we live.
“Governments need reliable data about our work, income and health to inform the delivery of vital services and make decisions about our future.”
The 2021 Census failed to capture meaningful data on LGBTIQ+ people after the ABS and former Government failed to ask appropriate questions on the sexual and gender diversity of our nation. It prompted Equality Australia to file a human rights complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission with Mx April Long, a non-binary parent and partner.
“At the moment we don’t know exactly how many LGBTIQ+ people live in Australia, where they are and basic demographic information about them, to ensure that government service delivery meets their needs,” Mr Kassisieh said.
“Asking some simple questions ensures everyone is counted in the snapshot of the nation.”
Every Census the ABS undertakes a review before recommending topics to the Federal Government, which makes the final decision on what information is collected.
“The Federal Government has an opportunity to reflect the real diversity of the Australian community in 2026 and gather crucial information about the kinds of services all our communities need, regardless of our sexual orientation, gender or sex characteristics” Mr Kassisieh concluded.
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