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Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Page: 269


Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (16:29): I seek leave to amend business of the Senate notice of motion No. 1 standing in my name and in the names of Senators Ludlam and Lambie for today proposing a reference to the Economics References Committee relating to the 2016 census. I also ask that Senator Dastyari's name be added as a co-sponsor of this motion.

Leave granted.

Senator XENOPHON: I, and also on behalf of Senators Ludlam, Lambie and Dastyari, move the motion as amended:

That the following matters be referred to the Economics References Committee for inquiry and report by 24 November 2016:

The 2016 Census, with particular reference to:

(a) the preparation, administration and management on the part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Government in the lead up to the 2016 Census;

(b) the scope, collection, retention, security and use of data obtained in the 2016 Census;

(c) arrangements, including contractual arrangements, in respect of the information technology aspects of the Census;

(d) the shutting down of the Census website on the evening of 9 August 2016, the factors leading to that shutdown and the reasons given, and the support provided by government agencies, including the Australian Signals Directorate;

(e) the response rate to the Census and factors that may have affected the response rate;

(f) privacy concerns in respect of the 2016 Census, including the use of data linking, information security and statistical linkage keys;

(g) Australia's Census of Population and Housing generally, including purpose, scope, regularity and cost and benefits;

(h) the adequacy of funding and resources to the ABS;

   (i) ministerial oversight and responsibility; and

(j) any related matters.

I seek leave to make a short 30-second statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for 30 seconds.

Senator XENOPHON: This motion in its proposed amended form is in fact a hybrid of this motion and a motion in very similar terms that was to be moved by Senator Dastyari. We share similar concerns over the census and I am pleased that a consensus was reached with this motion.