The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) today welcomes the resolution of a discrimination complaint brought against the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) over the 2021 Census.
The complaint, filed with the AHRC by community organisation Equality Australia and individual April Long, argued that the survey failed to ask meaningful questions to properly count members of the LGBTIQA+ community.
Following a successful conciliation process facilitated by the Commission, the ABS has issued a media statement advising that it is committed to establishing an expert advisory committee – including representatives from LGBTIQA+ groups – for advice on topics and questions for the 2026 Census. This will include advice for education materials, and how data in that Census is processed, analysed, and distributed.
The ABS has also issued a statement of regret on its website, acknowledging the hurt some people felt while completing the Census, and vowed to minimise the risk of further harm.
“This is a fantastic result,” said Commission President, Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM.
“Not only does it help ensure that every person in this country is rightfully seen and counted, but it also showcases how the Commission’s conciliation process can provide affordable access to justice and affect meaningful, systemic change.
“For more than 40 years, the Commission has been delivering such outcomes for a range of people and organisations who come to us for conciliation.
“These are not just individual outcomes, but positive resolutions that benefit our whole society.
“Let us hope this powerful example of empathetic listening helps set a standard and encourages other people to appreciate the value of constructive conciliation to help resolve human rights issues.”
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