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Census and Statistics Act 1905

Authoritative Version
  • - C2006C00178
  • In force - Superseded Version
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Act No. 15 of 1905 as amended, taking into account amendments up to Act No. 10 of 2006
An Act relating to the Census and Statistics of the Commonwealth
Administered by: Treasury
Registered 20 Apr 2006
Start Date 20 Apr 2006
End Date 26 May 2015
Table of contents.

Census and Statistics Act 1905

Act No. 15 of 1905 as amended

This compilation was prepared on 20 April 2006
taking into account amendments up to Act No. 10 of 2006

The text of any of those amendments not in force
on that date is appended in the Notes section

The operation of amendments that have been incorporated may be
affected by application provisions that are set out in the Notes section

Prepared by the Office of Legislative Drafting and Publishing,
Attorney‑General’s Department, Canberra

  

  

  


Contents

Part I—Preliminary                                                                                                              1

1............ Short title [see Note 1]........................................................................ 1

2............ Application to external Territories....................................................... 1

3............ Interpretation....................................................................................... 1

6............ Arrangements with State Governments as to execution of Act........... 2

7............ Undertaking of fidelity and secrecy..................................................... 2

Part II—The Census                                                                                                            3

8............ Taking of Census................................................................................ 3

8A......... Transfer of Census information to the Archives................................. 3

Part III—Statistics                                                                                                                 4

9............ Statistical information to be collected.................................................. 4

Part IV—Administration                                                                                                   5

10.......... Forms to be filled up........................................................................... 5

11.......... Answering of questions...................................................................... 6

12.......... Publication etc. of statistics................................................................. 6

13.......... Release of information........................................................................ 6

14.......... Failure to answer questions etc........................................................... 7

15.......... False or misleading statements or information.................................... 8

16.......... Authorized officers............................................................................. 8

17.......... Delegation........................................................................................... 8

18.......... Powers of entry................................................................................... 9

19.......... Secrecy................................................................................................ 9

19A....... Non‑disclosure of Census information............................................. 10

19B....... Former officers................................................................................. 10

20.......... Prosecution of offences..................................................................... 11

21.......... Continuing offences.......................................................................... 11

22.......... Joinder of charges and penalties for certain offences........................ 11

27.......... Regulations....................................................................................... 12

Notes                                                                                                                                             13


An Act relating to the Census and Statistics of the Commonwealth

Part IPreliminary

  

1  Short title [see Note 1]

                   This Act may be cited as the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

2  Application to external Territories

                   This Act, other than Part III, extends to such external Territories as are prescribed.

3  Interpretation

                   In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears:

Agency has the meaning given by section 19A.

Archives means the National Archives of Australia mentioned in subsection 5(1) of the Archives Act 1983.

authorized officer means an officer who, by virtue of an appointment under section 16, is an authorized officer for the purposes of this Act.

Bureau means the Australian Bureau of Statistics established by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975.

Census day has the meaning given by section 19A.

determination means a determination made under section 13.

form means a form prepared by the Statistician under subsection 10(1).

officer means:

                     (a)  a member of the staff of the Bureau referred to in subsection 16(1) of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975; or

                     (b)  a person engaged in accordance with the regulations to assist in the carrying out of the functions of the Statistician; or

                     (c)  a person who performs services in accordance with an arrangement made under section 16A of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975.

Statistician means the Australian Statistician referred to in subsection 5(2) of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975.

6  Arrangements with State Governments as to execution of Act

             (1)  The Governor‑General may enter into any arrangement with the Governor of any State providing for any matter necessary or convenient for the purpose of carrying out or giving effect to this Act and in particular for all or any of the following matters:

                     (a)  the execution by State Officers of any power or duty conferred or imposed on any officer under this Act or the regulations;

                     (b)  the collection by any State Department or officer of any statistical or other information required for the purpose of carrying out this Act; and

                     (c)  the supplying of statistical information by any State Department or officer to the Statistician.

             (2)  All State Officers executing any power or duty conferred or imposed on any officer under this Act or the regulations, in pursuance of any arrangement entered into under this section, shall for the purposes of the execution of that power or duty be deemed to be officers under this Act.

7  Undertaking of fidelity and secrecy

                   Every officer executing any power or duty conferred or imposed on any officer under this Act or the regulations, shall, before entering upon his or her duties or exercising any power under this Act, sign, in the presence of a witness, an undertaking of fidelity and secrecy in accordance with the prescribed form.


 

Part IIThe Census

  

8  Taking of Census

             (1)  The Census shall be taken in the year 1981 and in every fifth year thereafter, and at such other times as are prescribed.

             (2)  The Census day shall be a day appointed for that purpose by proclamation.

             (3)  For the purposes of the taking of the Census, the Statistician shall collect statistical information in relation to the matters prescribed for the purposes of this section.

8A  Transfer of Census information to the Archives

                   If:

                     (a)  a form is given to the Statistician or an authorised officer under section 10 in relation to the Census taken in the year 2001 or a later year; and

                     (b)  a person has consented, in accordance with the form, to the information contained in the form being transferred to the custody of the Archives under this section;

the Statistician must transfer the information to the custody of the Archives in a form and manner agreed by the Statistician and the Director‑General of the Archives.


 

Part IIIStatistics

  

9  Statistical information to be collected

             (1)  The Statistician:

                     (a)  may from time to time collect such statistical information in relation to the matters prescribed for the purposes of this section as he or she considers appropriate; and

                     (b)  shall, if the Minister so directs by notice in writing, collect such statistical information in relation to the matters so prescribed as is specified in the notice.

             (2)  The Statistician shall collect such statistical information as is necessary for the purposes of the compilation and analysis, under section 12, of statistics of the number of the people of each State as on the last day of March, June, September and December in each year, but nothing in this subsection shall be taken to limit the generality of subsection (1).


 

Part IVAdministration

  

10  Forms to be filled up

             (1)  The Statistician may prepare forms relating to the collection of statistical information in relation to any matter referred to in section 8 or 9.

             (2)  For the purposes of section 8, the Statistician may, by notice published in the Gazette, require persons included in a specified class of persons to fill up and supply, in accordance with instructions contained in or accompanying a specified form, the particulars specified in that form and to cause the form so filled up to be furnished to the Statistician, or to an authorized officer, in accordance with those instructions.

             (3)  For the purposes of section 8 or 9, the Statistician or an authorized officer may, either orally or in writing, request a person:

                     (a)  to fill up and supply, in accordance with instructions contained in or accompanying a form, the particulars specified in that form; and

                     (b)  to cause the form so filled up to be furnished to the Statistician, or to an authorized officer, in accordance with those instructions.

             (4)  For the purposes of section 8 or 9, the Statistician may, by notice in writing served either personally or by post on a person, direct the person:

                     (a)  to fill up and supply, in accordance with instructions contained in or accompanying a form accompanying the notice, within such period after the service of the notice, being not less than 14 days, as is specified in the notice, the particulars specified in that form; and

                     (b)  to cause the form so filled up to be furnished to the Statistician, or to an authorized officer, in accordance with those instructions.

             (5)  A notice referred to in subsection (4) shall set out the effect of the provisions of section 14.

11  Answering of questions

             (1)  For the purposes of section 8 or 9, the Statistician or an authorized officer may, either orally or in writing, request a person to answer a question that is necessary to obtain any statistical information in relation to any matter referred to in section 8 or 9.

             (2)  For the purposes of section 8 or 9, the Statistician may, by notice in writing served either personally or by post on a person, direct the person to answer, within such period after service of the notice, being not less than 14 days, as is specified in the notice, a specified question that is necessary to obtain any statistical information in relation to any matter referred to in section 8 or 9.

             (3)  A notice referred to in subsection (2) shall set out the effect of the provisions of section 14.

12  Publication etc. of statistics

             (1)  The Statistician shall compile and analyse the statistical information collected under this Act and shall publish and disseminate the results of any such compilation and analysis, or abstracts of those results.

             (2)  The results or abstracts referred to in subsection (1) shall not be published or disseminated in a manner that is likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organization.

             (3)  The Statistician may make charges for results and abstracts published and disseminated under this section.

13  Release of information

             (1)  Notwithstanding anything in this Act (other than this section), the Minister may, by legislative instrument, make determinations providing for and in relation to the disclosure, with the approval in writing of the Statistician, of information included in a specified class of information furnished in pursuance of this Act.

             (2)  Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), determinations may make provision:

                     (a)  as to the persons to whom the information may be disclosed;

                     (b)  as to the persons, being the persons from whom the information has been obtained, whose consent is required for the disclosure of the information; and

                     (c)  specifying terms and conditions subject to which the information may be disclosed, including, but without limiting the generality of the foregoing, terms and conditions as to the requiring of a person to whom the information is, or is to be, disclosed to give an undertaking, in writing with respect to the disclosure of the information by that person, including an undertaking not to disclose any of the information to any person.

             (3)  Information of a personal or domestic nature relating to a person shall not be disclosed in accordance with a determination in a manner that is likely to enable the identification of that person.

14  Failure to answer questions etc.

             (1)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person is served a direction under subsection 10(4) or 11(2); and

                     (b)  the person fails to comply with the direction.

Penalty:  One penalty unit.

             (2)  Subsection (1) is an offence of strict liability.

Note 1:       For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

Note 2:       A person commits an offence in respect of each day until the person complies with the direction (see section 4K of the Crimes Act 1914).

             (3)  Subsection (1) does not apply in relation to a person’s failure to answer a question, or to supply particulars, relating to the person’s religious beliefs.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (3) (see subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code).

15  False or misleading statements or information

                   A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person:

                              (i)  is required, requested or directed to fill up and supply particulars under subsection 10(2), (3) or (4); or

                             (ii)  is requested or directed to answer a question under subsection 11(1) or (2); and

                     (b)  the person makes a statement, either orally or in writing, or provides a document containing information, in connection with the requirement, request or direction; and

                     (c)  the person knows that the statement or information is false or misleading in a material particular.

Penalty:  10 penalty units.

16  Authorized officers

             (1)  The Statistician may, by instrument in writing, appoint a specified officer, or officers included in a specified class of officers, to be an authorized officer or authorized officers, as the case may be, for the purposes of this Act.

             (2)  However, the Statistician must not appoint as an authorised officer a person who performs services in accordance with an arrangement made under section 16A of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975.

17  Delegation

             (1)  The Statistician may, by signed instrument, delegate to an officer all or any of his or her powers under this Act or any other law.

          (1A)  However, the Statistician must not delegate a power under subsection 10(2), (3) or (4) or section 11 or 18 to a person who performs services in accordance with an arrangement made under section 16A of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975.

             (2)  A power so delegated, when exercised by the delegate, shall, for the purposes of this Act or that other law, as the case may be, be deemed to have been exercised by the Statistician.

18  Powers of entry

             (1)  The Statistician or an authorized officer may, at all reasonable times, enter any premises included in a prescribed class of premises for the purpose of:

                     (a)  supplying persons with forms;

                     (b)  collecting forms that have been supplied to persons; and

                     (c)  making inquiries for the purposes of this Act.

             (2)  In subsection (1), premises means premises other than:

                     (a)  a dwelling‑house (including a flat or home unit); or

                     (b)  a part of any other premises that is separately occupied or used for the purposes of the residence or sleeping accommodation of a person or persons.

19  Secrecy

             (1)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person is, or has been, the Statistician or an officer; and

                     (b)  the person, either directly or indirectly, divulges or communicates to another person (other than the person from whom the information was obtained) any information given under this Act.

Penalty:  120 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years, or both.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply if the person divulges or communicates the information:

                     (a)  in accordance with a determination under section 13; or

                     (b)  for the purposes of this Act.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (2) (see subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code).

             (3)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person gives an undertaking of a kind mentioned in paragraph 13(2)(c), in relation to information disclosed to the person in accordance with a determination; and

                     (b)  the person fails to comply with the undertaking.

Penalty:  120 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years, or both.

19A  Non‑disclosure of Census information

Non‑disclosure of Census information to Agencies

             (1)  A person who is or has been the Statistician or an officer must not, at any time during the period of 99 years beginning on the Census day for a Census:

                     (a)  be required to divulge or communicate to an Agency any information that is contained in a form that is given to the Statistician or an authorised officer under section 10 in relation to that Census; or

                     (b)  voluntarily give such information to an Agency;

other than in accordance with this Act.

Non‑disclosure of Census information to a court or tribunal

             (2)  A person who is or has been the Statistician or an officer must not, at any time during the period of 99 years beginning on the Census day for a Census:

                     (a)  be required to divulge or communicate to a court or tribunal any information contained in a form that is given to the Statistician or an authorised officer under section 10 in relation to that Census; or

                     (b)  voluntarily give such information in evidence in proceedings before a court or tribunal.

Definitions

             (3)  In this Act:

Agency has the meaning given by section 7 of the Public Service Act 1999.

Census day, for a Census, means the day appointed, under subsection 8(2), as the Census day for that Census.

19B  Former officers

             (1)  This section applies if, at a particular time before 5 December 1999, a person was a member of the staff of the Bureau referred to in subsection 16(1) of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 as in force at that time.

             (2)  For the purposes of sections 19 and 19A, the person is taken to have been an officer at that time.

Note:          5 December 1999 is the day on which subsection 16(1) of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 was amended by the Public Employment (Consequential and Transitional) Amendment Act 1999.

20  Prosecution of offences

             (1)  An offence against this Act, other than an offence against section 19, shall be prosecuted summarily.

             (2)  Notwithstanding that an offence against section 19 is expressed by this Act to be an indictable offence, a court of summary jurisdiction may hear and determine proceedings in respect of such an offence if the court is satisfied that it is proper to do so and the defendant and the prosecutor consent.

             (3)  Where, in accordance with subsection (2), a court of summary jurisdiction convicts a person of an offence against section 19, the penalty that the court may impose is a fine not exceeding $2,000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months, or both.

21  Continuing offences

                   Where under subsection 10(4) or 11(2) an act or thing is required to be done within a particular period or before a particular time, the obligation to do that act or thing continues, notwithstanding that that period has expired or that time has passed, until that act or thing is done.

22  Joinder of charges and penalties for certain offences

             (1)  Charges against the same person for any number of offences against section 14 may be joined in the same information or complaint if those offences relate to a failure to do the same act or thing.

             (2)  If a person is convicted of 2 or more offences referred to in subsection (1), being offences related to a failure to do the same act or thing, the court may impose one penalty in respect of both or all of those offences, but that penalty shall not exceed the sum of the maximum penalties that could be imposed if a penalty were imposed in respect of each offence separately.

27  Regulations

                   The Governor‑General may make regulations, not inconsistent with this Act, prescribing all matters and things which, by this Act, are required or permitted to be prescribed, or which are necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act and in particular for prescribing penalties not exceeding $500 for offences against the regulations.


Notes to the Census and Statistics Act 1905

Note 1

The Census and Statistics Act 1905 as shown in this compilation comprises Act No. 15, 1905 amended as indicated in the Tables below.

Table of Acts

Act

Number
and year

Date
of Assent

Date of commencement

Application, saving or transitional provisions

Census and Statistics Act 1905

15, 1905

8 Dec 1905

8 Dec 1905

 

Census and Statistics Act 1920

33, 1920

11 Oct 1920

11 Oct 1920

Census and Statistics Act 1930

18, 1930

21 July 1930

21 July 1930

Census and Statistics Act 1938

17, 1938

5 July 1938

5 July 1938

Census and Statistics Act 1946

74, 1946

14 Dec 1946

11 Jan 1947

Census and Statistics Act 1949

34, 1949

12 July 1949

12 July 1949

Statute Law Revision (Decimal Currency) Act 1966

93, 1966

29 Oct 1966

1 Dec 1966

Statute Law Revision Act 1973

216, 1973

19 Dec 1973

31 Dec 1973

Ss. 9(1) and 10

Census and Statistics Amendment Act 1977

15, 1977

28 Feb 1977

28 Feb 1977 (see s. 2)

S. 9

Census and Statistics Amendment Act 1981

48, 1981

25 May 1981

Part I (ss. 1, 2) and s. 4: Royal Assent Remainder:
30 June 1981

Census and Statistics Amendment Act (No. 2) 1981

177, 1981

8 Dec 1981

1 Mar 1983 (see Gazette 1983, No. S36)

S. 12

Census and Statistics Amendment Act 1985

195, 1985

16 Dec 1985

13 Jan 1986

Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1988

38, 1988

3 June 1988

S. 3: Royal Assent (a)

S. 5(1)

Census Information Legislation Amendment Act 2000

30, 2000

19 Apr 2000

19 Apr 2000

Statistics Legislation Amendment Act 2003

106, 2003

21 Oct 2003

21 Oct 2003

Census Information Legislation Amendment Act 2006

10, 2006

23 Mar 2006

Schedules 1 and  2: 20 April 2006
Remainder: Royal Assent


(a)     The Census and Statistics Act 1905 was amended by section 3 only of the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1988, subsection 2(1) of which provides as follows:

                 (1)   Subject to this section, this Act commences on the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.


Table of Amendments

ad. = added or inserted     am. = amended     rep. = repealed     rs. = repealed and substituted

Provision affected

How affected

Part I

 

Heading to Part I ..............

rs. No. 177, 1981

S. 2 .....................................

rep. No. 216, 1973

 

ad. No. 195, 1985

S. 3 .....................................

am. No. 33, 1920; No. 15, 1977; Nos. 48 and 177, 1981; No. 30, 2000; No. 106, 2003; No. 10, 2006

Heading to Part II .............

rep. No. 177, 1981

S. 4 .....................................

rep. No. 15, 1977

S. 5 .....................................

am. No. 216, 1973

 

rep. No. 177, 1981

S. 6 .....................................

am. No. 38, 1988

S. 7 .....................................

am. No. 33, 1920; No. 38, 1988

Part II

 

Heading to Part III ............

rep. No. 177, 1981

Heading to Part II .............

ad. No. 177, 1981

S. 8 .....................................

am. No. 18, 1930; No. 15, 1977; No. 177, 1981

Heading to s. 8A................

am. No. 10, 2006

S. 8A ..................................

ad. No. 30, 2000

 

am. No. 10, 2006

Part III

 

Heading to Part III ............

ad. No. 177, 1981

S. 9 .....................................

rs. No. 177, 1981

 

am. No. 38, 1988

Part IV

 

Heading to Part IV ............

ad. No. 177, 1981

S. 10 ...................................

am. No. 33, 1920

 

rs. No. 177, 1981

S. 11 ...................................

am. No. 93, 1966; No. 48, 1981

 

rs. No. 177, 1981

S. 12 ...................................

am. No. 74, 1946

 

rs. No. 177, 1981

 

am. No. 38, 1988

S. 13 ...................................

am. No. 33, 1920; No. 48, 1981

 

rs. No. 177, 1981

 

am. No. 38, 1988; No. 10, 2006

S. 14 ...................................

am. No. 93, 1966; No. 48, 1981

 

rs. No. 177, 1981

 

am. No. 195, 1985; No. 38, 1988

 

rs. No. 10, 2006

S. 15 ...................................

am. No. 33, 1920; No. 93, 1966; No. 48, 1981

 

rs. No. 177, 1981

 

am. No. 38, 1988

 

rs. No. 10, 2006

S. 15A ................................

ad. No. 33, 1920

 

rep. No. 177, 1981

Heading to Part IV ............

rep. No. 177, 1981

S. 16 ...................................

am. No. 17, 1938; No. 15, 1977

 

rs. No. 177, 1981

 

am. No. 106, 2003

S. 17 ...................................

am. No. 17, 1938

 

rs. No. 34, 1949

 

am. No. 93, 1966; No. 48, 1981

 

rs. No. 177, 1981; No. 38, 1988

 

am. No. 106, 2003

S. 18 ...................................

am. No. 93, 1966

 

rs. No. 216, 1973

 

am. No. 48, 1981

 

rs. No. 177, 1981

S. 19 ...................................

am. No. 93, 1966; No. 48, 1981

 

rs. No. 177, 1981

 

am. No. 38, 1988

 

rs. No. 10, 2006

S. 19A ................................

ad. No. 30, 2000

 

rs. No. 10, 2006

S. 19B ................................

ad. No. 106, 2003

S. 20....................................

am. No. 34, 1949; No. 15, 1977

 

rs. No. 177, 1981

 

am. No. 10, 2006

Heading to Part V .............

rep. No. 177, 1981

S. 21 ...................................

rs. No. 177, 1981

S. 22 ...................................

am. No. 33, 1920; No. 93, 1966; No. 48, 1981

 

rs. No. 177, 1981

S. 23 ...................................

am. No. 93, 1966

 

rep. No. 48, 1981

S. 24 ...................................

am. No. 33, 1920

 

rs. No. 34, 1949

 

am. No. 93, 1966; No. 48, 1981

 

rep. No. 177, 1981

S. 25 ...................................

rep. No. 48, 1981

S. 26 ...................................

am. No. 93, 1966; No. 48, 1981

 

rep. No. 177, 1981

S. 27 ...................................

am. No. 33, 1920; No. 93, 1966; No. 177, 1981