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By Frances Morphy

The Indigenous Enumeration procedure (IES) of the Australian nationwide Census of inhabitants and Housing has developed through the years in keeping with the perceived ‘difference’ of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. Its defining features are using in the neighborhood recruited, normally Indigenous collector interviewers, and the management of a converted assortment software in discrete Indigenous groups, regularly in distant Australia. The learn mentioned here's distinctive. The authors, with the help of the Australian Bureau of information, have been in a position to persist with the workings of the IES within the 2006 Census from the layout of the gathering tool to the educational of transitority census box employees on the Northern Territory’s Census administration Unit in Darwin, to the enumeration in 4 distant destinations, via to the processing degree on the information Processing Centre in Melbourne. This allowed the monitoring of information from assortment to processing, and an evaluation of the consequences of knowledge flows at the caliber of the information, either as enter and output. This research of the enumeration concerned 4 very diverse destinations: a gaggle of small outstation groups (Arnhem Land), a wide Aboriginal township (Wadeye), an ‘open’ city with a majority Aboriginal inhabitants (Fitzroy Crossing), and the minority Aboriginal inhabitants of an immense nearby centre (Alice Springs). A comparability among those contexts unearths adjustments that replicate the range of distant Aboriginal Australia, but in addition commonalities that exert a robust impression at the effectiveness of the IES, specifically very excessive degrees of non permanent mobility. the choice of websites additionally allowed a comparability among the enumeration strategy within the Northern Territory, the place a time-extended rolling count number was once explicitly deliberate for, and Western Australia, the place a transformed type of the normal count number have been envisaged. The findings recommend that the IES has reached some degree in its improvement the place the injection of ever-increasing assets into primarily a similar normal set and constitution of actions could be generating diminishing returns. there's a desire for a brand new type of engagement among the Australian Bureau of facts and native govt and Indigenous community-sector enterprises in distant Australia. The company and native wisdom of Indigenous humans might be harnessed extra successfully via an ongoing dating with such organizations, to raised handle the complicated contingencies confronting the census technique in distant Indigenous Australia.

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

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There are six hub settlements in the area, ranging in size from more than 1000 people (Galiwin’ku/Elcho Island) to just more than 200 people (Gunyangara/Ski Beach). These have been assigned the letters A–F. There are two other settlements—G and H—outside the Yolngu area proper that will also figure in this account. 1 The CFO for the Yolngu-speaking area was responsible for the enumeration at all of the Yolngu settlements and homelands, as well as Groote Eylandt and Numbulwar and its homelands. There are, in total, more than 10,000 Aboriginal people scattered throughout this remote area of 37,000 square kilometres.

This finding bears out emphatically the inadequacy of the 2001 approach of leaving visitors in the town camps to be counted elsewhere, and the correctness of the 2006 Census approach of trying to count visitors. When such long-term residents are referred to as visitors, however, the question arises as to whether very short-term visitors are also being captured by this terminology. This issue can also be approached by reflecting on another finding of the Tangentyere population and mobility study.

I am concerned to explore the consequences of this for the Indigenous Enumeration Strategy (IES) in general, and its impact on the role of the Census Field Officer (CFO) in particular. I have also chosen to structure the major part of this case study as a chronological narrative of the count in four phases, to convey a sense of just how difficult a task it is to ‘capture’ this mobile population, and as a background to what might sometimes appear to be critical comments about how the 2006 enumeration was managed.

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

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