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Equality Australia has joined the calls to have the sexual orientation and gender identity of Australians added to the nation’s 2021 Census as testing gets underway on October 15 including the topic of non-binary sex.

The LGBTI rights group, who say they are “disappointed” with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), who have since announced that gender identity and sexual orientation will not be included in testing for the next Census, arguing that the statistics need to reflect the diversity of the entire nation.

“It is disappointing that the ABS will not be collecting information about sexual orientation in the next census,” explained Anna Brown from Equality Australia to The Guardian.


“It is absolutely vital for us to be counted if we are to have the diverse needs of the LGBTIQ community adequately addressed in government policy and programs.”

But it needs to be noted that the ABS can only add a certain number of topics to their testing due to keeping the burden placed on responding households to a minimum and being able to test the systems and processes effectively.

In a statement, the ABS stated eight topics were originally slated for inclusion.

“Of the eight topics short-listed following the consultation, three are in the test: non-binary sex, long-term health conditions and Australian Defence Force service,” the ABDS said in their statement.

“The test will not include questions relating to other new topics that are under consideration such as gender identity, sexual orientation, journey to education and smoking.”

All of the above topics are still under consideration for the 2021 Census but in the end any new topics will remain a decision by the Government.

Equality Australia’s calls to ABS follow a joint statement from a collection of health and wellbeing NGOs in August, who also urged the ABS to collect “appropriate and meaningful … data on sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status” in the upcoming 2021 Census.
“The census is best placed to understand the cultural, economic and social diversity of our communities, providing information about the population across small geographic areas and long-time trends in key aspects of the lives of Australians,” the joint statement said.

“Census data underpins government funding and investment and informs government decisions in a range of areas, including healthcare and social services planning.”

“Asking appropriate questions on sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status in the Census is crucial in fostering an evidence-informed environment for health and economic policy service planning and understanding health and social service utilisation, and is essential in addressing the significant health disparities that LGBTI people experience.”

Last Updated on Oct 10, 2019

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