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ABS Census 2021- Question 22 creating confusion and controversy among Indian community.

Opinion published by NRI Herald, 08 August 2021

ABS Census 2021- Question 22 creating confusion and controversy among Indian community.

A post that has been brought to NRI Herald's attention on 4th August 2021, written by an association on their FB page is causing confusion and controversy among the Australia-Indian community.

It's not clear why this association is asking the community members to answer Question number 22 in the ABS Census 2021 in this manner. This question is about ancestry. This association is asking its members to write “Sikh” and “Punjabi” as the answer to this question. People already know that “Sikh” denotes a religion and “Punjabi” refers to a language mainly spoken in the state of "Punjab" in present day India and Pakistan. Both do not indicate ancestry.


Intention


NRI Herald wrote to the designated email id info@asaltd.org.au of this association and asked them one simple question on 5th August 2021 at 5:55 PM about their intention of asking their followers on their FB page to fill this information in this manner.

The association has not provided their response by the time of this publication, even though our journalist has tried to reach them via phone as well.


Other Indian federations and associations in Australia


NRI Herald approached many Indian federations & confederations about their opinion on this matter, which is creating confusion in regards to Question 22 on ABS CENSUS 2021. Many major Indian federations in Australia have come forward to assist Indians in regards to this confusion.


Federation of Indian Communities of Victoria Inc. (FICV) have posted on their FB page which says:

This census, report your particulars accurately. It helps the government in developing the support systems appropriately and adequately, to cater for your unique needs.

Council of Indian Federations of Australia (CIFA) have posted on their FB page which also says:

This census, report your particulars accurately. It helps the government in developing the support systems appropriately and adequately, to cater for your unique needs.

Federation of Indian Associations of ACT Inc (FINACT) have posted on their FB page which says:

2021 Census is on Tuesday 10 August.2021 Census-Australia Your participation is vital as census data is fundamental to plan and deliver services across Australia. FINACT encourages community members to provide relevant information as this data is used for many different purposes, including targeted policy development. See quick-stats from 2016 census.

Federation of Indian Associations of NSW (FIAN) have also posted on their FB page:

NRI Herald also spoke with a few Indian community leaders and asked them about their opinion on CENSUS 2021.

Dr. Yadu Singh, president of Federation of Indian Associations of NSW says, “Question 20 should allow a participant to write 2 languages other than English which are spoken at home. There are many households where 2 languages are spoken. Classical examples include Punjabi and Hindi, Hindi and Gujarati, and Hindi and Marathi.


Dr. Singh has a view regarding question number 22, which he says “is very confusing and needs to be clarified. In his view:

“The primary ancestry can only be your nation (country) of origin. This nation (country) must be only one of the nations, which is a member of UNO (United Nation Organisation). It can’t be an imaginary country like “Timbuktu”. You can’t imagine a nation in your mind. It can’t be the State (of the nation) you come from. In the case of Indian ancestry, you should not mention your state from India as your second ancestry. The census form allows two answers in this section but both answers must indicate your ancestry logically and correctly."
“It is logical that your state of origin CAN NOT be your ancestry, and your religion definitely CAN NOT be your ancestry either. In the case of Indian ancestry, any entry, which refers to the 'State of India' as your primary ancestry instead of Indian ancestry, should be rejected and excluded from the counting. People have the right to identify with Australian ancestry if you have an Australian passport. If they hold an Indian passport, you cannot identify with Australian ancestry.
“For obvious reasons, you would not mention your ancestry as NSW or Victoria if you identify with Australian ancestry. If you still do, you would look silly. The best solution for Indian Australians is to use “INDIAN” and “AUSTRALIAN” as the ancestries for the Q22, as many of us already have Australian passports.”

Amit Singh Jadonn, chair of FICV said:

"It is a highly objectionable post by Australian Sikh Association. I hope the better sense prevails and the Australian Sikh community don’t fall into the trap of such vested interests and only declare correct information in Census 2021"

Penalty: NRI Herald is aware that, as per the article published by ABS News on 5th August 2021, The Australian Bureau of Statistics under Census and Statistics Act 1905, can penalise anybody with a fine up to $2,220 if incorrect and misleading information is provided in the CENSUS 2021 form.


Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Complaint procedure.


If any Australian has any feedback in which they feel that the information being shared by any party on ABS CENSUS 2021 is misleading and fraudulent, they may choose to file an official complaint on the ABS website link below.


ABS CENSUS 2021 complaint link : https://form.census.abs.gov.au/self-service/contact-us/complaint

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