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Survey Participant Information - FAQs
 

What is the authority for the survey?
Is the survey compulsory?
Will the ABS preserve the confidentiality of the information I provide?
Will the information I supply be given to another government agency?
Do ABS surveys comply with the requirements of the Privacy Act?

Question 1: What is the authority for the survey?

Answer: ABS surveys are conducted under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

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Question 2: Is the survey compulsory?

Answer: All ABS surveys are conducted under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. Initially you are being requested to answer the questions, but if the Australian Statistician directs you in writing to provide the information, you are legally obliged to do so.
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Question 3: Will the ABS preserve the confidentiality of the information I provide?

Answer: Yes, the answers you provide will be treated confidentially. The Census and Statistics Act 1905 prohibits the disclosure of identifiable information of a personal or domestic nature and requires that information can only be published in a manner that is not likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation. The secrecy provisions of the Census and Statistics Act 1905 provide a fine of up to $5,000 and/or a penalty of 2 years imprisonment for an unauthorised disclosure of information collected under the Act. The ABS's long-standing record for preserving the confidentiality of information provided to it is widely respected.
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Question 4: Will the information I supply be given to another government agency?

Answer: The legislation under which the ABS operates prohibits the disclosure of identifiable information of a personal or domestic nature under any circumstances. Information other than personal information may occasionally be released under the very restricted circumstances of a Ministerial determination. The determination provides for the disclosure of certain classes of information which are unlikely to be of concern to the respondents involved. Examples of information which can be disclosed under the determination include information which is already in the public domain or information disclosed with the consent of the respondent.
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Question 5: Do ABS surveys comply with the requirements of the Privacy Act 1988?

Answer: Yes, all ABS surveys comply with the requirements of the Privacy Act 1988. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner also provides information about ABS surveys on their website.
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