ABS Letter to the Australian Financial Review Editor "Census: they'll know who you are" (published 18 March 2005)

Dear Sir,

The AFR article (March 17, Page 1) "Census: they'll know who you are" does not tell the whole story.

Yes, we have had informal discussions with several groups about ways that we can add value to the Census and support research that is in the public interest. This would make the Census more useful for policy, planning and research purposes.

As a result of these discussions we have decided that this will not involve the retention of name and address information. As with previous censuses, the ABS will destroy name and address information after it is no longer required for census processing.

A discussion paper will be issued in a few weeks' time. The ABS will not pursue this work unless there is public acceptance. But we thought we should at least give members of the public a chance to air their views before deciding whether to proceed or not.

The ABS is proud of its record on confidentiality and would not do anything to undermine it.

Dennis Trewin
Australian Statistician.