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Household expenditure survey should not be compulsory



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P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A

H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

PETER S H A C K , M .P. FEDERAL MEMBER FOR TANGNEY SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT,^ TRAINING AND YOUTH AFFAIRS

P.O. BOX 1206. BOORAGOON, W.A. 6154 SUITE 8, GATEWAY MELVILLE CITY CENTRE BOORAGOON T E L (09) 364 5554

D I A R E L E A S E.

11TH AUGUST, 1988. T63/88

HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE SURVEY SHOULD NOT BE COMPULSORY

Two legal opinions have cast doubts about the legality of the current Australian Bureau of Statistics Household Expenditure Survey, according to Tangney's Federal M.P., Peter Shack.

" Opinions which the Opposition ha s , one of them from the Office of the Clerk of the Senate, suggest that families cannot be compelled to participate in the survey because the Hawke Government did not table the relevant documents in both Houses of the Federal Parliament.

"The Australian Bureau of Statistics has argued that the 1987 Household Expenditure Survey is a repeat of the 1984 one and therefore did not reguire tabling before the Parliament.

"However, our legal opinions are clearly of the view that the current survey is not the same as the earlier one.

"It seems an inescapable conclusion that the Household Expenditure Survey commenced in July this year is a new proposal even though it may be of a similar type to the

previous one.

"Households chosen at random to take part in the 1988/89 survey are being threatened with $100 a day fines if they do not cooperate with the ABS.

"Such a 'big stick', stand-over attitude is totally

unacceptable to the Opposition which has repeatedly called upon the Attorney-General to provide a legal opinion in support of this draconian measure.

"On the basis of the information available to the Opposition it appears participation in the survey should be on a

voluntary basis and that no one should be forced to answer the survey's hundreds of extremely intrusive questions.

"The argument that information from the survey is reguired for the weighting of the Consumer Price Index is completely spurious.

"In the first place, Liberal/National Party Governments have been able to produce CPI figures without prying into people's private financial details, and s e c o n d l y , many of the questions being asked seem to have more to do with a wealth

inquiry than anything else.

"The Opposition will continue to pursue this matter and to encourage the general public to stand up for the right to maintain confidentiality in relation to their personal financial dealings.

Further information: Delys Newman (364 5554)