Inaccurate Representation Of Same-Sex Parented Families In 2016 Census

Rainbow Families Star On SBS’s 'The Feed'

Even with significant changes, the 2016 census is not inclusive.

The 2016 national census is raising concerns about a lack of accurate representation and inclusion of children with same-sex parents.

Although many significant changes have been made in the census to be inclusive of couples in same sex relationships, the census requires respondents to identify the place of birth of a child’s ‘father’ and ‘mother’.

LGBTIQ volunteer organisation Rainbow Families has written to the Australian Bureau of Statistics expressing concern about the lack of accurate representation and inclusion of children with same-sex parents.

Vanessa Gonzales from Rainbow Families said, “The census is used as a key data source for all sorts of policy decisions across both public and private sectors. As well as this exclusion being hurtful to rainbow families, we have to question the integrity of the data obtained by the census.”

When contacted by Rainbow Families asking for help on how two mothers should answer the relevant questions, the ABS advised either one of the mothers to use the ‘father’ response in the form, despite it being illegal to knowingly provide false or misleading information on a census form.

“The only way to accurately record this would be for each parent to ask for a paper form and cross out one of the names that does not apply, and replace with the correct relationship. Yet again rainbow parents are asked to cross out government forms in order to accurately represent our families,” Gonzales said.

With the strong emphasis on electronic lodegment, the concern for children being raised by same-sex parents not being counted is growing.