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Tuesday, 26 February 1985
Page: 185


Senator LAJOVIC(3.17) —I wish to refer to some of the proposed census questions. One question relates to where each person's father was born and asks whether the person's father was born in Australia or overseas. It then asks for the father's country of birth. If the census uses the name of country in which the person's father was born as the origin of that person we will have totally misleading information on the record. My father was born in Austria, not in Yugoslavia. At that time Yugoslavia did not exist. Therefore, I have to put down my father's birthplace as the Austro-Hungarian empire. My father was an Austrian. Therefore, the census would automatically classify me an Austrian and not Slovenian.

I believe that the census questions are not properly identified. What about an Italian whose father was born in Egypt? He is of Italian origin. What about a Greek born on one of the Italian islands? I believe that the same thing will happen again as happened in previous censuses. I believe that people of minority nations, such as Slovenia, which is the country of my origin, and which are part of bigger countries will not be identified properly. I believe that all these questions, which according to the census paper will be used in calculating the number of languages and nationals or citizens from each different country, will not be clear at all. Further down the proposed census list there is this question:

What is each person's ancestry? For example, Greek, English, Indian, Armenian, Aboriginal, Chinese, etc.

The same problem applies here. For example, somebody who was born in India may not be of Indian ancestry.


Senator Puplick —As in my father's case?


Senator LAJOVIC —Yes. According to this question Senator Puplick would be Indian. I have tried to tell the Australian Bureau of Statistics for years and years of the difficulties in asking questions which are misleading and which will not achieve the results which they ought to.

Question resolved in the affirmative.