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Identifying and Definitional Attributes
QH 040290
Metadata Item Type
Data Element
Data Element Type
Data Element
Approval Status
Approval Type
Approving Authority
Effective From
Effective To
Indigenous status is a measure of whether a person identifies as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. This is in accord with the first two of three components of the Commonwealth definition. See Comments for the Commonwealth definition.
Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples occupy a unique place in Australian society and culture. In the current climate of reconciliation, accurate and consistent statistics about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are needed in order to plan, promote and deliver essential services, to monitor changes in wellbeing and to account for government expenditure in this area. The purpose of this data element is to provide information about people who identify as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. Agencies or establishments wishing to determine the eligibility of individuals for particular benefits, services or rights will need to make their own judgements about the suitability of the standard measure for these purposes, having regard to the specific eligibility criteria for the program concerned.
Short Name
Indigenous status
Name in Other Contexts
Representational Attributes
Representation Class
Minimum Character Length
Maximum Character Length
Permissible Values
1Aboriginal but not Torres Strait Islander origin
2Torres Strait Islander but not Aboriginal origin
3Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin
4Neither Aboriginal nor Torres Strait Islander origin
Supplementary Values
9Not stated/inadequately described
Collection and Usage Attributes
Guide for Use
This data element is based on the ABS Standard for Indigenous Status. For detailed advice on its use and application please refer to the ABS Website as indicated below under Source document.
The classification for 'Indigenous Status' has a hierarchical structure comprising two levels. There are four categories at the detailed level of the classification which are grouped into two categories at the broad level. There is one supplementary category for 'not stated' responses. The classification is as follows:

- Aboriginal but not Torres Strait Islander Origin
- Torres Strait Islander but not Aboriginal Origin
- Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Origin

- Neither Aboriginal nor Torres Strait Islander Origin
Not stated/ inadequately described:

This category is not to be available as a valid answer to the questions but is intended for use:
- primarily when importing data from other data collections that do not contain mappable data;
- where an answer was refused;
- where the question was not able to be asked prior to completion of assistance because the client was unable to communicate or a person who knows the client was not available.

Only in the last two situations may the tick boxes on the questionnaire be left blank.
Verification Rules
Collection Methods
The standard question for Indigenous Status is as follows:
[Are you] [Is the person] [Is (name)] of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?
(For persons of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin, mark both 'Yes' boxes.)
Yes, Aboriginal...............................
Yes, Torres Strait Islander............

This question is recommended for self-enumerated or interview-based collections. It can also be used in circumstances where a close relative, friend, or another member of the household is answering on behalf of the subject.

When someone is not present, the person answering for them should be in a position to do so, i.e. this person must know well the person about whom the question is being asked and feel confident to provide accurate information about them. However, it is strongly recommended that this question be asked directly wherever possible.

This question must always be asked regardless of data collectors' perceptions based on appearance or other factors.

The Indigenous status question allows for more than one response. The procedure for coding multiple responses is as follows:
If the respondent marks 'No' and either 'Aboriginal' or 'Torres Strait Islander', then the response should be coded to either Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander as indicated (i.e. disregard the 'No' response).
If the respondent marks both the 'Aboriginal' and 'Torres Strait Islander' boxes, then their response should be coded to 'Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Origin'.
If the respondent marks all three boxes ('No', 'Aboriginal' and 'Torres Strait Islander'), then the response should be coded to 'Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Origin' (i.e. disregard the 'No' response).

This approach may be problematical in some data collections, for example when data are collected by interview or using screen based data capture systems. An additional response category
Yes, both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
may be included if this better suits the data collection practices of the agency or establishment concerned.
Relational Attributes
Related Metadata References
Supersedes Indigenous status QH 040290 Version 2
Implementation in Metadata Sets


  • 1 - 4
ViewMetadata Item TypeMetadata Set TypeNameAscendingIdentifier & VersionObligationEffective FromEffective To
Information AssetData CollectionEmergency Data Collection (EDC)QH 020159 Version 1Mandatory23-Oct-200619-Oct-2008
Information AssetData CollectionQueensland Cancer Registry (QCR) Data CollectionQH 020002 Version 101-Jul-200419-Oct-2008
Information AssetData CollectionQueensland Hospital Admitted Patient Data Collection (QHAPDC)QH 020001 Version 1Mandatory01-Jul-200419-Oct-2008
Information AssetData CollectionQueensland Perinatal Data Collection (QPDC)QH 020003 Version 1Mandatory01-Jul-200419-Oct-2008
Data Quality Declaration
Source and Reference Attributes
Source Organisation
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Source Document
National Health Data Dictionary