STATEMENT FROM THE NATIONAL LGBTI HEALTH ALLIANCE IN RESPONSE TO NEW REVELATIONS AT SENATE ESTIMATES REGARDING THE EXCLUSION OF SEXUALITY AND GENDER IDENTITY QUESTIONS IN CENSUS TEST FORMS

The National LGBTI Health Alliance (the Alliance), the national peak health organisation in Australia for organisations and individuals that provide health-related programs, services and research focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people (LGBTI) is renewing its calls on the government to include questions on sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status in the 2021 Census, following new revelations today in Senate Estimates.

Australia Statistician, David Kalisch, revealed today at Senate Estimates that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) printed 20,000 Census test forms, which included new questions on sexual orientation and gender identity. These questions were then removed from the Census trial test in accordance with the expressed preference of the Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar’s office.   

Philippa Moss, Chair of the Alliance, said “It is disappointing that the decision to exclude questions on sexual orientation and gender identity in the Census test by the ABS seems to have not been based on good process or been informed by the evidence presented during the public consultation processes and community testing. It appears that the decision has come down to personal opinions of individuals who have negated the huge need for this data, a need that has been voiced by a significant number of health experts, academics and community organisations.”

Nicky Bath, Executive Director of the Alliance, stated: “There is a clear data need for these questions to be included in the Census. Their exclusion means that vital data indicators will remain excluded from important data sets that are used across community, primary and tertiary health care services and programs. Currently, there are no other alternative data sources or solutions that could meet these needs.”

“If we are not successful in the inclusion of these questions in the upcoming 2021 Census we will need to wait and advocate again for inclusion in 2026. This is too long; we desperately need to gain the insights that the Census will provide to us so that health and social services are better able to respond to the significant health disparities LGBTI people experience by making better use of their resources” Nicky Bath concluded.

The Alliance will continue to work collaboratively with our members, stakeholders and the government to ensure the meaningful and appropriate collection of data on sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex status of the Australian population in the 2021 Census, in an effort to improve the overall health and wellbeing of LGBTI people and communities.

Download statement here

Media Contact:  Nicky Bath, Executive Director

Mobile: 0432 328 706 Email: Nicky.bath@lgbtihealth.org.au