Agency, contingency and census process: Observations of the 2006 Indigenous Enumeration Strategy in remote Aboriginal Australia

Agency, contingency and census process: Observations of the 2006 Indigenous Enumeration Strategy in remote Aboriginal Australia Report

Research Monograph

  • Author(s): Frances Morphy
  • Published: 2007
  • Publisher: Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, The Australian National University

Abstract: During the period leading up to and during the 2006 Census, a team of four researchers from the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) at The Australian National University undertook an observation of the census enumeration in four remote locations. Three of these were in the Northern Territory—the Alice Springs town camps (Will Sanders), Wadeye (John Taylor) and a group of homelands in the Yolngu-speaking area of eastern Arnhem Land (Frances Morphy)—and one was in Western Australia, at Fitzroy Crossing (Kathryn Thorburn). One researcher (Frances Morphy) also spent time at the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) Northern Territory Census Management Unit (CMU) in Darwin and at the Data Processing Centre (DPC) in Melbourne, observing the training of the Northern Territory Census Field Officers (CFOs) and their assistants, the handling of the Northern Territory Interviewer Household Forms (IHF) in Darwin after the count and the coding of the data from the forms at the DPC. This research was undertaken as an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant, with the ABS as the collaborating institution. The researchers signed an Undertaking of Fidelity and Secrecy under the terms of the Census and Statistics Act 1905, and are thus bound by its conditions of confidentiality. This work builds on previous research undertaken by CAEPR researchers on the 2001 Census, published as Martin et al. (2002 [2004]) (see also Morphy 2004, 2006; Sanders 2004). In 2001, only the count itself was observed. Morphy and Sanders were also members of the ABS’s 2006 Census Indigenous Enumeration Strategy Working Group, which considered all aspects of the Indigenous Enumeration Strategy (IES), but particularly the design of the forms to be used in 2006, in the light of the 2001 experience. Morphy also participated in the field testing of the 2006 form (see Morphy 2003).

Notes: Contents: 1. Producing powerful numbers - Frances Morphy and Will Sanders and John Taylor 2. Preparing for the 2006 enumeration at the Darwin Census Management Unit - Frances Morphy 3. A vast improvement: the 2006 enumeration in the Alice Springs town camps - Will Sanders 4. Mobility and its consequences: the 2006 enumeration in the north-east Arnhem Land region - Frances Morphy 5. Whose census? Institutional constraints on the Indigenous Enumeration Strategy at Wadeye - John Taylor 6. What sort of town is Fitzroy Crossing? Logistical and boundary problems of the 2006 enumeration in the southern Kimberley - Kathryn Thorburn 7. After the count and after the fact: at the Darwin Census Management Unit - Frances Morphy 8. The transformation of input into output: at the Melbourne Data Processing Centre - Frances Morphy 9. Accommodating agency and contingency: towards an extended strategy for engagement - Frances Morphy and Will Sanders and John Taylor Appendix A. The 2006 Interviewer Household Form 127 Appendix B. Commentary on the 2006 Interviewer Household Form

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Suggested Citation
Frances Morphy, 2007, Agency, contingency and census process: Observations of the 2006 Indigenous Enumeration Strategy in remote Aboriginal Australia, Report, viewed 10 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3706.

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