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Whether a person identifies as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, as represented by a code. This is in accord with the first two of three components of the Commonwealth definition.


Data Element (this item)


This representation is based on the value domain for this data element, more information is available at " Indigenous status code N ".
Data Type Number
Format N
Maximum character length 1
Value Meaning Start Date End Date
Permissible Values 1 Aboriginal but not Torres Strait Islander origin
2 Torres Strait Islander but not Aboriginal origin
3 Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin
4 Neither Aboriginal nor Torres Strait Islander origin
Supplementary Values 9 Not stated/inadequately described



National Health Data Committee

National Community Services Data Committee


The following definition, commonly known as 'The Commonwealth Definition', was given in a High Court judgement in the case of Commonwealth v Tasmania (1983) 46 ALR 625.

'An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives'.

There are three components to the Commonwealth definition:

  • descent;
  • self-identification; and
  • community acceptance.

In practice, it is not feasible to collect information on the community acceptance part of this definition in general purpose statistical and administrative collections and therefore standard questions on Indigenous status relate to descent and self-identification only.


Related content

Relation Count
Input in Derivations 0
Output in Derivations 0
Inclusion in Data Set Specifications 164
Inclusion in Data Distributions 0
As a numerator in an Indicator 143
As a denominator in an Indicator 6
As a disaggregation in an Indicator 42