Talk:Australia/Archive 14

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Historical population

How can the 1788 population have been only 900? I am sure there must have been thousands of aboriginals living there at the time. Or was Australia in 1788 a much smaller geographical area than today, including no aboriginal settlements? // Jens Persson (90.231.244.42 (talk) 21:02, 27 July 2008 (UTC))

The Aboriginal population in 1788, and in fact for most of Australia's history, was unknown and was not included in the population counts. Even now there is considerable disagreement over how many Aboriginals there might have been. Some claim there were several million while others claim that the current population (~455,000) doesn't support that claim. Nobody really knows so all we can count on being accurate is the non-Aboriginal population figure. --AussieLegend (talk) 05:32, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Many experts do in fact agree that it was greater than 300,000 and less than 2.5m, so that's the range. The problem with the table and the whole section as it stands is that it effectively ignores the pre-European population, which is incorrect within the stated terms, eg, if they are about the population history of Australia, something should be said in the main article about the pre-European situation and not just in a footnote. SoMuchTime (talk) 18:48, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
That seems reasonable. If you want to add something along those lines I see no problems, as long as you provide some reasonable citations. Somebody is bound to challenge it. --AussieLegend (talk) 00:15, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I came in here to add this exact statement - I believe there should be some type of footnote to indicate that values up to a certain point do not include aboriginals, but after that point, they are included in censuses (was it the year they were given the vote??). I don't know how to use Wiki very well, but I believe this is a VERY important piece of information to add because without it we are almost propogating an out-dated view of a valued part of our community. Pleitch (talk) 09:02, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
There is already a note explaining that "19th century figures do not include the indigenous population" in the citation. There's little more that can be said at this time as there is no indication when the figures used started including the indigenous population. --AussieLegend (talk) 09:58, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Crown Land?

"One interesting difference between Australia and the United States is that because the land area of the Commonwealth has not changed since federation, crown land in the states is the property of the state governments, not the commonwealth. The crown land owned by the Commonwealth consists of crown land in the territories and isolated small parcels used as airports etc. In the United States, because of its major expansion since federation, this only applies in the original thirteen colonies and Texas."

What the heck does this mean? America doesn't have any "crown land", so I have no clue what they're talking about. Is this some sort of arcane legal difference between the original thirteen colonies and the rest of America, or is this just some odd perspective on history? And whichever it is, why isn't there a link to an article about whatever the corresponding USian concept is that's different? 24.44.51.38 (talk) 05:55, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

  • Fair question - have since linked crown land for your convenience. Others may wish to chime in also. Have also slightly refactored this page to bring your question in order to the bottom of the page. Cheers!--VS talk 07:26, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
From the Crown land article, it looks like the rough US equivalent would be Federal lands. I thing the passage is basically saying that public lands in Australia are largely managed by the state governments, as opposed to public lands in the US being mostly run by the federal government. Looking at the passage in the article though, it could use some sources, and I'm not sure why it is focusing so much on a comparison with just the US. AlexiusHoratius (talk) 07:36, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
I think the paragraph in question is unecessary. The observation is not all that important or even interesting. And it tends to confuise, q.e.d. It suffices to say that the states are sovereign. This is stated clearly and implies everything that the paragraph attempts to convey.--Gazzster (talk) 00:59, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Queen Elizabeth of Australia

The Autralia entry has the head of State as Queen Elizabeth II - Isn't this incorrect?

Elizabeth I was not head of State for Australia so QEII should surely be just QE in relation to Australia?

The Royal Mews near Buckingham Palace contains the Australian State Coach (presented to The Queen in 1988 by the Australian people to mark Australia's bicentenary). Whereas the other coaches include "E II" to represent Queen Elizabeth II, the Australia Coach states only "E", as Queen Elizabeth is the first Queen Elizabeth of Australia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 62.25.109.196 (talk) 12:37, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

The Queen's title is Queen Elizabeth II, not Queen Elizabeth, and that is how she is referred to, regardless of the fact that she's the first Queen Elizabeth who has been Queen of Australia. If Charles ever becomes king the The Constitution will be amended to reflect that The King is now the head of state and he will be referred to as Charles II, not just Charles. Similarly, William will be referred to as William V. What's written on the state coach is not considered to be an authoritative decree of anything really. --AussieLegend (talk) 16:37, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
And that would be Charles III, not II. --Michael Johnson (talk) 22:43, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually, the Constitution isn't amended - in it, "the Queen" refers to the successors of Queen Victoria, male or female. The title of the Queen is given not by the constitution, but by the Royal Styles and Titles Act, which follows the convention that the monarch uses the highest ordinal number that is appropriate anywhere in their realms (so that a future King James would follow the Scottish numbering, not English). Also, there have been some reports that Charles will actually be known as George if he becomes king. JPD (talk) 23:21, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Exactly. The Constitution wasn't amended when kings Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII and George VI came to the throne. It still referred to the Queen, because we happened to have a queen when the Constitution was written. -- JackofOz (talk) 21:36, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Ungainly "Note 1" against national anthem in infobox

I'm sure there's a better way of doing it—at the very least, smaller font-size. I suppose it can't be just a plain superscript numeral, can it? Tony (talk) 00:18, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Do you mean "plain superscript" as in Advance Australia Fair1 ? --AussieLegend (talk) 01:56, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Hmmm - you might have a point, Tony, but here's hoping it doesn't open up the old fight about how God Save the Queen is presented in the article. Let's try and keep the discussion focussed on the format of the note. --Merbabu (talk) 02:29, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

You may have just hit on a resolution of Tony's issue. A few days ago somebody removed English from the lannguage field[1]. While restoring it I discovered that the infobox has fields for diffent types of languages so the infobox now has fields for "Official lanuages" and "National language".[2] Suspecting that other fields may be missing I checked the template and there is a "royal_anthem" field that isn't used. Addition of this field would eliminate the need for a note. See example --AussieLegend (talk) 02:54, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I did mean the plain "1", yes. If that format is not used for anything else, it would be better. Just a tiny smaller would be nice. I'm being fussy because it's in such a prominent place. Tony (talk) 03:58, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I have some concerns about reducing the font size because this affects readbility for a lot of people. Using an abbreviation, eg Advance Australia Fair N1 is probably the better option. This was the style fomerly used by the article. I think just a plain numeral is a bit ambiguous as 1 could be confused with [1]. --AussieLegend (talk) 04:32, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
The "N" in "N1" etc to distinguish notes from ref numbers seems unnecessary, given that you can click on it to zoom straight to the note at the bottom. No big deal, though. Tony (talk) 05:10, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

overlinking

The opening is pretty heavily linked, and I'm concerned that the high-value links not be diluted by trivial ones. MOS deprecates the linking of dictionary-type words, and here I see plenty that are not even piped, such as "continent", "mainland", "country", "infectious disease", "United States" (see MOSLINK), "naval base" and "sea port". These are words that English-speakers are meant to know; if they don't, they can very easily tap the letters into the search box or look them up. I see "sq mi" and a very ungainly "-square-kilometre" linked; these are questionable. The latter should be a quadruple bunger: I'll recast it now. Tony (talk) 04:27, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Official name of Australia

What is the Official name of Australia? Commonwealth of Australia or Australian Government?--Kanags (talk) 09:59, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

As explained earlier on this page and in the article itself the full and formal name is Commonwealth of Australia but Australia is more commonly used. The Australian Government is the administrative entity that runs the country. --AussieLegend (talk) 13:37, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Thanks AussieLegend.--Kanags (talk) 02:27, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

You're welcome. --AussieLegend (talk) 03:29, 30 August 2008 (UTC)


Australia opens its doors to about 300,000 new migrants in 2008-09

Could 2008-09 be explained. Is it 300,000 new migrants in 2008 and 2009 so 150,000 per year or does 2008-09 refer to this year? —Preceding unsigned comment added by ItemSeven (talkcontribs) 13:33, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

I assume that it would refer to the 2008-09 financial year which begins on 1 July 2008 and ends on 30 June 2009. --AussieLegend (talk) 13:47, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

States and territories

Reading this section I see that Northern territory is not a state. Excuse my confusion, but does this make it the only part of Australia that is neither a state or part of a state? If so, what is the reason for this? Jack forbes (talk) 11:43, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

The Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory are the two mainland Australian territories. These emerged after the six Australian states were instated and have as of yet not been given the full state status. Mvjs (talk) 12:06, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
States are sovereign, territories are administered by the Commonwealth government. Territories were once administered directly by the feds, but now have self government. However their legislators are created by act of the fed parliament, and their legislation can be overridden as well. Both Canada and US have federal territories as well. --Michael Johnson (talk) 12:40, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Northern Territory does have self government but doesn't have State hood (IE: Gets to have the powers that the states have but it has been tried but so far failed [See http://statehood.nt.gov.au but it seems to be down but try Google Cache]). Bidgee (talk) 13:35, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the replies. I understand the articles concerning individual states and territories would go into detail on this, but would it not be a good idea to give a brief explanation in this article? Just stating the reason why Northern territory and Australian Capital territory are not states would be illuminating. Jack forbes (talk) 12:50, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Incorrect 2006 census population numbers

The article provides incorrect 2006 census population numbers. Unfortunately, I do not have the editing rights for this page, so cannot change it myself. Please, could someone who can edit this page place the correct number: 20,061,646? The webpage of the Australian Bureau of Statistics containing the right number is http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/d3310114.nsf/4a256353001af3ed4b2562bb00121564/5d3cc840c7bcef0bca2573410017db9a Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dimi-syd (talkcontribs) 07:56, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

According to that page, the figure you've shown includes overseas visitors, ie people not normally resident in Australia, so it's not an accurate indication of the resident population figure, which is what should be shown in the article. The ABS QuickStats page for Australia[3] shows the resident population and supports the figure in the article. --AussieLegend (talk) 11:24, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
Hmm... The numbers do seem strange when you compare the population in 2006 and in 2008 as listed on the page.

It seems the population numbers swelt by nearly two million people in two years. Personally, I don't fully buy AussieLegend's argument about "non-resident" population. All people living in Australia, either permanently or temporary, should be listed - in this global world the movement of people is increasingly becoming a norm, so anyone who lives in the country in a given year should be included (and the notion of "resident population" increasingly obsolete). Whatever your opinion is, I do not think it is acceptable to have both numbers listed on the page together without at least explaining the reason why they appear so different. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.183.74.246 (talk) 13:50, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

The official population clock calculates the current resident population, as clearly stated in the fist line on the population clock page. Using the resident population for the census population provides for direct comparison. That's why we use it rather than the raw count. Overseas visitor numbers are subject to massive fluctuations throughout the year, especially during significant events such as the Olympics, World Youth Day/Week etc. and give a false indication of the actual population. The resident population is far more stable. --AussieLegend (talk) 14:55, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Well, if we agree with the definition of "resident population" as people live in the country for an extended period of time and thus their number does not fluctuate, how can we explain the discrepancy between the numbers for 2006 and 2008? Either one of the two numbers is incorrect or they use different definitions. The "resident" population number of a country cannot swell by 8% in two years - that would either require an enormous inflow of immigration or an unbelievable explosion in birth rates. Neither one happened in the past two years (the immigration inflow has been under 1% per year and no record birth rates have been observed). That leads me to conclude that either the two different sources used to obtain the two number used different definitions of "resident population" or one of them is plainly wrong... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.184.82.175 (talk) 12:50, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Both of the figures provided come from the same authoritative source, the Australian Bureau of Statistics. I don't understand the discrepancy either. The 2008 figure should only be about 700,000 more than the 2006 figure based on the increase rates that have been shown by the population clock. You'd need to ask the ABS why there is such a large difference. --AussieLegend (talk) 22:02, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Admiralty 1824 date

In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known officially as "Australia".

Is there any chance of narrowing this down to a specific month and day? It would be great if we could track down the document/s in which this agreement was conveyed. -- JackofOz (talk) 21:13, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

I have a related question. My understanding is that "Australia" replaced "New Holland" as the name for the large island in 1824. That is, the name the British used; because the Dutch still called it Nieuw Holland till late in the 19th century. It was a geographic term, and it did not include Van Diemen's Land. Only gradually did "the Australian colonies" come to include VDL (name changed to Tasmania in 1856). I think we need to make it clear that it went from being a strictly geographic term that did not apply to the whole of what we now call Australia, to a political term that did. -- JackofOz (talk) 22:31, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

According to a 1787 chart of New Holland at the national Library of Australia, New Holland did indeed include Van Diemen's Land, which at the time was thought to be attached to the mainland.[4] This makes your suggestion unnecessary. --AussieLegend (talk) 22:52, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
OK, but in 1798, George Bass and Matthew Flinders circumnavigated Van Diemen's Land, proving it to be separate. That island was still referred to as Van Diemen's Land, and the mainland continued to be called New Holland. When the term "Australia" was approved in 1824, that referred only to the geographical entity that was previously called New Holland, and did not include Van Diemen's Land. -- JackofOz (talk) 23:26, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
The whole of what we now call Australia was still called New Holland after Bass and Flinders discovery. It was just less land mass that it was previously thought to be. Van Diemen's Land didn't stop being part of New Holland just because it was found to be an island. Remember, the British didn't actually call the continent New Holland. They didn't have a name for the whole continent. They referred to the colony of New South Wales which covered most of the mainland, right over to what is now Western Australia. NSW eventually shrank as other states were formed. New Holland was just the English version of Nieuw Holland and "Australia" was chosen in preference over that as a name for the whole continent when it was decided to name the country. It didn't actually replace it. --AussieLegend (talk) 23:44, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
OK, I've worked it out now. Abel Tasman discovered and named Van Diemen's Land in 1642. He did not come up with the name New Holland until 1644, following his discovery of the north Qld, NT and WA coastlines. He had no reason to believe these 2 landmasses were connected - and as it turns out he was dead right. If he had believed they were contiguous, it would seem more logical to simply extend the first name, Van Diemen's Land, to the larger land mass that he later discovered. Only later was the false assumption made by the British that the east coast of Australia, that Cook discovered, extended all the way down to Van Diemen's Land. By that time, New Holland came to mean the whole of Australia, with VDL assumed to be a southern, Florida-like, promontory. So, it is clear that these names were coined in reference to different land masses, that were later assumed to be connected, and later still found to be disconnected. But in the context of the article we're discussing, it did mean the whole of Australia at the time "Australia" was approved. Thanks for an interesting discussion. Very enlightening. -- JackofOz (talk) 21:31, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Who's ministers?

The following is not clear:

the Queen is represented by the Governor-General, who by convention acts on the advice of his or her Ministers.

Does the Queen or does the GG act on the advice of their ministers? Are those the ministers of the Queen or of the GG?

--Michael Daly (talk) 16:53, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

By convention the GG acts on the advice of the Queen's ministers who, by virtue of him or her being the Queen's representative, are also his or her ministers. :) --AussieLegend (talk) 17:35, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
Effectively it it the same office. The GG acts when the Queen is not present. When the Queen is in Australia, the GG "retires" and ministers give their advice directly to the Queen. When the Queen leaves, the GG resumes the office, and ministers give their advice to the GG again. The ministers are ministers of the Crown. The GG is the representative of the Crown. --Michael Johnson (talk) 21:29, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
That's actually not true, apart from the last 2 sentences. The GG has powers that the Queen does not have. When the Queen is visiting, the GG might for protocol reasons take a lower public profile than he/she normally does, but he/she is still the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and is still the person ministers advise, and he does not "retire". The Prime Minister would take the opportunity of having a private audience with the Queen while she's here, and he may advise of her of the same sorts of things he'd advise her about if her were visiting her in London, but she doesn't suddenly become involved in giving Royal Assent to bills that have recently passed through the House of Reps and the Senate. The GG still does that, even when the Queen is here. Ministers other than the Prime Minister do not meet the Queen privately and do not advise her on anything. They sometimes advise the GG, though, and this could still occur while the Queen is visiting. Occasionally, a bill is reserved for the Queen's personal signature - such as the Flags Act 1953 or the Royal Styles and Titles Act 1973 - but that's only done in special cases and is very uncommon. The Queen does not normally even give Royal Assent personally to British acts of parliament - that's done by the Lords Commissioners in her name under letters patent. The GG on the other hand does personally sign Australian bills. -- JackofOz (talk) 22:17, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
Um the Queen does not sign bills into law, but does sometimes? The Queen doesn't consult with ministers but does with the Prime Minister (who in constitutional terms is just another minister)? To be sure you are right from a practical point of view - the Queen on her short visits here does not take on all the responsibilities of the GG, but in a strictly legal, theoretical sense I am sure I am right. I'll see if I can find a source, you might like to do also. --Michael Johnson (talk) 23:34, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
I will do that, but on your first question: The Queen rarely personally puts her signature "Elizabeth R" on acts of Parliament. In Britain, the function of Royal Assent is almost always carried out by the Lords Commissioners in her name, although there are the occasional exceptions. In the other Commonwealth Realms, the queen rarely signs their parliaments' acts, but it sometimes happens, such as the two I mentioned above. These were reserved for her personal signature because they involved her personally (one related to her title, and one related to national symbols, which were considered the monarch's prerogative in 1954. These days they're the GG's prerogative - e.g. Ninian Stephen proclaimed Advance Australia Fair in 1984). Normally, it's the GG's job to give Royal Assent. I suppose it's a null question, because I imagine that the Australian Parliament would not be sitting when the Queen visits, and there'd be no bills for her to sign anyway. She has opened our parliament more than once, but the sittings are suspended for the rest of her visit. (The Flags Act was passed in 1953, and could perfectly correctly have been signed by the GG the next day, but it was set aside to wait for the Queen's visit in February 1954.) But if some formal proclamation were deemed unavoidable during one of her visits, the person who signs it would be the GG, not the Queen. She simply does not involve herself in Australian politics, as she made very clear on at least 2 occasions: in 1975, when Speaker Scholes wrote to her asking her to reverse Kerr's decision to sack Whitlam (she replied that this was entirely a matter for the Australian authorities), and prior to the 1998 Republic Referendum (when she said that whatever decision the Australian people made would be fine by her). -- JackofOz (talk) 00:11, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree it is very much a nullpoint, entirely technical and of no relevance to current day politics. --Michael Johnson (talk) 00:17, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
OK, so there is some clarification. Are these ministers exclusively elected Australians or can they include ministers in Britain (where this would imply Queen means - Queen wherever, rather than Queen of Australia)? I only ask this to be clear and I think all these explanations should be reflected in the article. --Michael Daly (talk) 19:41, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
In the context of the question you originally asked, we're talking about Australian ministers only. The Australian Governor-General is advised exclusively by the Australian ministers of the Queen of Australia, never by British ministers of the Queen of the UK, Canadian ministers of the Queen of Canada, etc. Hypothetically, the 16 crowns she wears could be worn by 16 different people, and as far as the law is concerned, she may as well be 16 different people. Sure, sometimes she speaks as monarch of more than one country, such as in her Christmas address to the Commonwealth, but then she's actually speaking not as monarch but as Head of the Commonwealth, because she is not monarch to every single country of the Commonwealth (of which there are 53), only to 16 of them. -- JackofOz (talk) 20:37, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Geography

This is a general intoductory article for the nation/continenent.The geography section rightly deals with the generality of the geogrpahy of the continent, giving general informtaionon cliamte, geology and so forth. It really isn't the place for contentious current affairs subjects such as climate change, no matter how important. Ethel Aardvark (talk) 02:27, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Climate change is a science topic, and should be included in the climate section. It is not a current affairs topic, however the political debate about it obviously is. --Michael Johnson (talk) 03:28, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

um... you should leave climate change out it could offend some people and cause fights because some people dont believe in it including me. --User:Montana Gy (User Talk:Montana Gy) —Preceding undated comment was added at 05:50, 18 October 2008 (UTC).

Aboriginal History

The removal of children from their families, which

  • 1) some historians
  • 2) have argued
  • 3) could be considered
  • 4) by some definitions
  • 5) may have contributed

That sounds like Humprhrey Appleby at his best. How many vagueries and weasel words can we manage to fit into a single sentence? This sort of thing really doesn't belong in an enxyclopedia.

If it contributed, it contributed and it needs to be included in the sectio on Aboriginal population decline (and referenced of course).

If it can be argued that some historians, on a good day, may consider that under some circumstances the possibility exists that it is plausible that it contributed, in the fullness of time, along with other factors, to an overarching and ongoing process that, in certain aspects, may reflect certain patterns pertaining to what some definitions may incorporate into a broad definition that also embraces genocide, and that its ramifictaions never precluded the possibility that unnamed subgroups may have experienced a transient or more longterm decline in numerical status relative to....

Then it doesn't belong at all. It's controversial, it's doesn't actually say anyhting and it has become original research. There are already several articles discussing this subject, it hardly belongs in an article that only touches on major points in Australian history. By all means mention the "Stolen Generation" with a link to the appropriate article, but the spurious claim that it led to population decline needs to be removed if this is the only way it can be worded.Ethel Aardvark (talk) 00:05, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

If it can be referenced that some historians actually say this then it is not original research. Otherwise it needs to go. Jack forbes (talk) 00:27, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

The numerous weasel words also need to go. If a reliable source says it then it should be stated as fact, not as a series of increasingly vague qualifiers. It becomes original research because as far as I can see an editor has decided that the removal policy was genocide, genocide results in population decline, therefore the policy must have resulted in population decline. As you say, it needs a reference from a reliable source that states clearly that the policy reduced the number of Aboriginals. Ethel Aardvark (talk) 03:36, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Economy

"Australia's balance of payments is more than 7% of GDP negative: Australia has had persistently large current account deficits for more than 50 years"

This is completely incorrect. The balance of payments is equal for countries with a floating exchange rate. It should say 'The current account deficit is 7%,Australia has had persistent current account deficits for more than 50 years'

also might be better to put the stuff on exports with the stuff on the balance of payments. id be happy to expand on this section and other sections :) Thegoldenrule (talk) 17:18, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Interesting Ammendment/Ommission to Culture:

I've recently finished reading up on culture of Australia, but there is something a little disturbing about the overt, glowing references to the arts in Australia. Ending the first paragraph. Someone should add something about the following (I am not registered here, I will do it when I can and am able) to the section of that paragraph. Ie. Australia may well have some "original and vigour" in it's arts, but it apparently has the most disturbing and extreme history of censorship of any western democracy I have read about... Now, the two supporting articles for this conclusion are the wiki itself, but also these articles which I was reading.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Proud-to-ban/2005/05/06/1115092690466.html
""Australia was arguably one of the worst censors in the Western world," she says. Proud to ban what was hot in London, Paris and New York, the Australian censors described their role as a "bulwark for Anglo-Saxon standards".
Moore's research is hindered by the sheer size and severity of Australia's censorship regimes. She is only a month into her research but already has found more than 14 governmental agencies involved, with more than 67 archival file series, some measuring 200 metres."
And now Australia is implementing a world (western democratic, "free" country) first isp censoring scheme for their people? I would hence submit that the line ending the first paragraph is misleading and not NPOV, because it is completely ignoring (censoring?) this reputation, which is atrocious from a democratic viewpoint of freedom of speech.
Australia Will Censor the Internet http://www.searchviews.com/index.php/archives/2007/12/australia-will-censor-the-internet.php
The Australian government has announced it will censor the Internet, imposing filters to keep out porn and violence in the interest of protecting children. ISPs will now have to provide “clean feeds” and filter out any objectionable content. The country’s telecommunications minister, Stephen Conroy, countered freedom of speech arguments with this statement: “If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree.”

Not only this, but the entire adult gaming population may not play adult video games...there are none. In other words, Australians are some of the most repressed citizens of any western democracy in the world. Clearly this must be mentioned alongside the gushing claims about the vigour and originality of the arts in the first paragraph of the culture section (currently it is not NPOV). —Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.254.82.64 (talk) 15:38, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Seems like a bit of original research going on here to reach the conclusion that Australians are some of the most repressed citizens of any western democracy . You bring together three disparate elements - book censorship (which Australia was hardly alone in implementing) that ended 40 or more years ago (I think it was Don Chipp in the 1960's who did most of the heavy lifting on that one) providing "clean feeds" on the internet on an "opt-out" basis, and censorship of video games (not usually countered as culture). Hard to draw your conclusion, and wrong to draw it anyway without a reliable source. --Michael Johnson (talk) 21:56, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
I recomment that you read the articles I linked. Also, you may not be aware what is exactly available in other western democratic nations in which case you wouldn't really know. About books.... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_in_Australia#Books ...The wikipedia clearly shows it has not ended at all. Indeed there seems to be a lot going on in that area. You wouldn't know this of course because that is the nature of censorship to remove these options from sight. Also, according to this section http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_in_Australia#Political_speech , "Even though the nation prides itself in freedom, Australia lacks an explicitly protected form of freedom of speech." There is a lot more if you actually read up on it and compare it to other western democracies, which I stated I did. The repression angle is because all of this qualifies as adult material in some respect, and to not have such options available to free-thinking adults in a "free" country, is repressive from an objective viewpoint. Now another wikipedia article on freedom of speech in Australia has this line, amongst others, "Despite the court's ruling, however, not all political speech appears to be protected in Australia and several laws criminalise forms of speech that would be protected in other democratic countries such as the United States." There is no original research here, only logically based conclusions and comparisons. 124.254.82.64 (talk) 01:54, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I have read the articles. The SMH states book banning went out of fashion in the 1970s and '80s, but does refer to current film censorship, ironically referencing one film that did pass the censors unscathed. The blog (in itself not a very satisfactory reliable source) gives one opinion that the new laws are repressive, and a second that they are not and are comparable with those in other western countries, and followed by a readers comment that supports the second opinion. As I said hardly compelling stuff. As for the Wikipedia articles (which by definition are not reliable sources) the statement that "Even though the nation prides itself in freedom, Australia lacks an explicitly protected form of freedom of speech." is still a long way from an assertion that free speech in limited in Australia to any practical extent compared with other countries. And making logically based conclusions and comparisons is original research. You are welcome to edit the article but need to find a reliable source that supports your assertion. --Michael Johnson (talk) 04:09, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Michael – you sum it up well. And thanks for taking the time to read through all the material. Perhaps in future the anonymous contributor could try to be more succinct with their points. They will find that this is more effective in getting people to (a) pay attention, (b) understand, and (c) reply. --Merbabu (talk) 05:14, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
OK, I looked around a bit and have something else: http://www.nswccl.org.au/issues/freespeech/index.php (specifically, "This means that Australians are free to talk about politics. But that's it. All other forms of speech can be restricted by Parliament. ") This goes beyond far beyond books, video games, and free speech rights as described in the links. PS. I disagree this is OR as I have provided several independent articles. Also: "Australia is the only common law country without a Bill of Rights." http://www.nswccl.org.au/issues/bill_of_rights/australia.php This is highly unusual and interesting 124.254.82.64 (talk) 02:09, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps rather than making general observations about Australia you could make some very specific suggestions here on wording changes and they can commented on. --Merbabu (talk) 03:25, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Again you confuse the lack of a bill of rights with actual suppression of rights. You have not provided any source that says Australians right to free speech is substantially limited against that in other countries. We should also remember that a bill of rights is quite a recent innovation in countries like the UK, New Zealand, and Canada. And in the first two it is only a statutory bill, and could in theory be amended or repealed by Parliament. Lastly a bill of rights can only protect a citizen if there is the political will, ask any dissident in China. There are limits to freedom of speech in Australia as there are in all countries. But you still have a long way to go before you can show that Australia has, in your words, the most disturbing and extreme history of censorship of any western democracy. --Michael Johnson (talk) 05:03, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
You're obfuscating the issue. The bill of rights was only an incidental point to the original query. Same with the free speech issue. However they do have a role, which was noted. Before, I quoted one section that contradicts your contention Michael. What part of this quoted passage I provided, "Australia was arguably one of the worst censors in the Western world," don't you understand? Read it again. @Merbabu: Maybe I'll think about the phrasing a little. I'm aware of the context. At least you already made this NPOV, which I had pointed out and was my primary aim. Thanks. I may delete this section to reduce it's size and resubmit these quotations with phrasing to see if anyone ageed with it as Merbabu suggested.124.254.82.64 (talk) 04:20, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
I understand it perfectly well, and the important words here are was and arguably one. The SMH article refers to the situation until the 1960's, an era which even I, ancient as I am, barely remember. You were wanting to edit a section that describes the situation today. And arguably one is quite a qualifier, not the worst at all but maybe up there with the worst. From my knowledge of the era I have no problems with that statement, but is a reference to censorship in Australia over 40 years ago really relevant to this article? We do have an extensive article on Censorship in Australia already. And please do not accuse me of obfuscation, you are the one trying to bring together unrelated references to try and promote an extreme POV. But you were right about one thing, original and vigour et al was over the top and POV without references, and Merbabu has done a good job tidying it up. If you're happy I'm happy. --Michael Johnson (talk) 06:36, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

Royal Anthem

Under Anthem, Royal anthem "God Save the Queen" Should be added as it is an official anthem of australia. Like it has been put up for canada. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sebgrove (talkcontribs) 14:35, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

We've had this discussion at least once before - see Talk:Australia/Archive 11#Royal anthem. -- JackofOz (talk) 01:50, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
At least once is an understatement. Looking through the archive indexes I counted five discussions. Personally I think it should be in the infobox but consensus seems to be against that. --AussieLegend (talk) 03:24, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
Actually, it's not an understatement if you think about it. If I'd said we'd had this discussion before, or once before, that would have been an understatement. But "at least once before" is open-ended, and could imply anywhere from only 1 discussion, through to 50++ discussions. -- JackofOz (talk) 15:04, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

My copyediting

I have worked carefully through the whole article today (see detailed edit summaries). I have not sifted through all of the notes, but I suspect they need a little attention as well. Two issues in particular have arisen, for me:

  • By convention at Wikipedia and almost everywhere else in similar publishing, titles like dame and sir are omitted. Any other practice would be invidious, since these are almost certain to be applied selectively and inconsistently. Accordingly I have deleted such titles for Robert Helpmann, Nellie Melba, Arthur Streeton, and so on. Restoring these would require a strong argument and justification.
  • Terra nullius may be translated several ways. Nullius is the genitive (or, equivalently here, "possessive") form of the pronoun nullus. It can occur impersonally, so it means "none" if the presumed domain is inanimate objects. It also occurs personally, so it means "no one", "nobody", "no person", or – yes!– "none" if the presumed domain is human beings. Now, the English word none is most often used impersonally; it is therefore unsettling and obscure to insist on translating terra nullius as "land of none". And it is unnecessary, given the many options. SOED has for res nullius "no one’s property; a thing or things that can belong to no one. Macquarie has for terra nullius "land of no-one". Again, we would need a strong argument to use land of none, given this evidence and these precedents.

¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 10:38, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Given the eveidence you've presented, why use "no person's land" rather than "land of no-one"? --AussieLegend (talk) 10:58, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't object so strongly to land of no-one as I did to land of none.
Thinking about all this, I now favour no-one's land or nobody's land above other options. My reason: these both represent natural expression in English, and the natural Latin translation of them both would be terra nullius. The differences in order and in syntactic detail are just facts about English and Latin; in moving between the two, we ought to adjust smoothly to the new language. There is no reason to strive to preserve the Latin order, any more than we should Latinise no-one's land as nullius terra (a possible but unwieldly construction).
¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 12:01, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Australia is the only continent occupied by a single country

"Australia is the only continent occupied by a single country." This statement is not factually correct. Australia is part of the continent of Oceania. The same mistake is repeated in the entry for "continent". In turn, these entries are inconsistent with the entry for "Oceania". The view that Australia is a continent is Anglo-centric. In Europe, outside the British Isles, for example, Oceania is recognised as a continent. While recognising that the origin of the word "continent" refers to a continuous landmass, the word has evolved to have a different meaning, just like the word ocean, for example. We now do not understand an ocean to be "the great river or sea surrounding the disk of the Earth". Pcallioni (talk) 06:45, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Oceania is not a continent. It is a region. An examination of continental drift over the past 4.5 billion years supports the claim that Australia is a continent. By the way, this issue was discussed in June on this page. --AussieLegend (talk) 08:49, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

My dictionary defines a continent as "One of the main continuous bodies of land on the earth's surface." That is the English meaning of the word, and that is the meaning the English Wikipedia should follow. Oceania is, apart from Australia, mostly water. If Oceania is a continent, so is the Atlantic Ocean. Can we have some evidence for the proposition that "In Europe, outside the British Isles, for example, Oceania is recognised as a continent"? Intelligent Mr Toad (talk) 11:59, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

My answer is a question: to which continent do New Guinea, New Zealand, Fiji et al belong? Pcallioni (talk) 22:52, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

They are islands. They don't belong to any continent. An island is a piece of land smaller than a continent. And that is no answer to my request for evidence for the proposition that "In Europe, outside the British Isles, for example, Oceania is recognised as a continent"? Intelligent Mr Toad (talk) 23:14, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, we do have an article on Australia (continent), which describes an entity that includes New Guinea as well as the country called Australia. Just quite why geographers chose this absurbly confusing name is a mystery that will go with me to my grave. "Continent" is a matter of definition, and definitions get changed all the time, and definitions mean different things in different contexts (see also Borders of the continents for further enlightenment). If Europe can be considered a different continent than Asia when they're clearly part of the same land mass, as is Africa for that matter, then one can make a definition to suit any purpose one likes. When I was in school, a million years ago, I was taught that Australia (the country) is the world's largest island and the world's smallest continent. They seem to have forgotten that Tasmania and other islands are part of Australia, so maybe my teachers (I lived on the mainland) were talking about mainland Australia only in the "world's largest island" claim, but they never made that distinction as far as I can remember. I doubt that a Tasmanian teacher would ever have told their students that Australia (unqualified) was the world's largest island. Nowadays, better minds than ours have decided that a land mass cannot be simultaneously a continent and an island, so Greenland now gets the top honour for islands, and Australia (country) is regarded as a continental land mass. But there's still this other niggling matter of Australia (continent), which is more than just Australia (country). If all the experts could speak with one voice on this matter, it would be better for all of us. -- JackofOz (talk) 23:35, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

I gave the standard English definition of "continent" above: "One of the main continuous bodies of land on the earth's surface." In a strictly geographical sense, therefore, Europe and Asia are one continent, occupying as they do one landmass and one tectonic plate. Whether Australia is a small continent or a large island is obviously a matter of opinion, but the consensus among geographers seems to be that it is a continent. New Guinea is an island which is closely associated with Australia in a geograhphical sense, but it is not part of the Australian landmass. Tasmania is part of Australia in a political sense but is not part of the Australian landmass, although it once was (as was New Guinea). What is clear, and the point of this discussion, is that there is not and never has been a continent called Oceania. There is by the way no Oceania tectonic plate. Australia and New Zealand are on the Australian plate, the rest of the Pacific, all the way up to the Aleutian Islands, is on the Pacific plate. Intelligent Mr Toad (talk) 23:53, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

In certain contexts, eg. some sporting competitions, the world is divided into "continents" and Oceania rates a mention there. It makes sense in these contexts to lump all the Pacific island nations in with Australia and New Zealand and call the merged entity by some name, the usual one being Oceania. Maybe that's what Pcallioni is referring to. The sentence "Australia is the only continent occupied by a single country" doesn't actually state that which definition of the word "continent" is being used, although it seems reasonably obvious it relates to continuous land masses. Or maybe not. You seem at odds with the writers of Australia (continent) when you say that New Guinea is not part of the Australian landmass. I don't personally support that notion, but I guess we can't just ignore the fact that geographers consider the 2 places to be part of the same continent, even if they're not a continuous land mass. -- JackofOz (talk) 04:57, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
I guess the sporting competition you speak of is soccer, and now of course in that sport Australia is part of Asia. Not sure that helps us. I guess based on Australia (continent) the sentence should read "Australia is the only country to occupy the entire mainland of a continent". But that seems somewhat convoluted. --Michael Johnson (talk) 05:16, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
And of course, New Guinea is its own mainland in relation to its offshore islands. The continent of "Australia" seems unique (well, what else is new) in that it has 2 mainlands. Even the people on Flinders Island refer to Tasmania as their "mainland" before they get to the Big Island. That makes three: a main mainland (Australia minus Tasmania), a middle mainland (New Guinea), and a small mainland (Tasmania). So the term "mainland" could possibly mean different things to those who've boned up on the revelations contained in Australia (continent). How we deal with this in being absolutely non-misleading but still clearly and well written and sensible, beats me right now. -- JackofOz (talk) 05:59, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
The UN defines the continental region as Oceania, which then breaks down into Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Australia & New Zealand. see http://millenniumindicators.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm —Preceding unsigned comment added by 118.92.158.65 (talk) 10:04, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Moving on from the discussion above, the sentence has now been swapped around and says: "Australia is the only single country to occupy an entire continent." I don't mind this swap, but what I do mind is the tautology "only single country". Could someone please remove the word single - I cannot because the article is semi-locked. 86.9.201.247 (talk) 01:32, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

Done! --AussieLegend (talk) 03:17, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

What I don't understand is if Australia is regarded as a continent then is New Zealand apart of Asia? If Australia is (according to the admins) only continent to one nation and Oceania is a region and there can only be seven continets then where does New Zealand belong? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Clayfield (talkcontribs) 07:22, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

There is no law that says countries have to be part of a continent. New Zealand isn't part of either the Australian or Asian continents. It is part of the region called Oceania and is located at the junction of the Australian and Pacific plates. --AussieLegend (talk) 09:21, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

POPULATION

Tweed - Gold Coast is not counted as one city and neither is canberra - queenbeyan i should know since i live in canberra and in even my father and my wife says that. Newcastle is SIxth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 210.10.139.107 (talk) 00:50, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

If you notice the Gold Coast and Tweed heads have so much population growth that they have a merged population, possibly this may happen with Brisbane and the Sunshine coast where they will have to do that. Canberra and Queenbeyan are in the ACT and because it is a very small area and Canberra has a more dense population it has also merged to an added population of the two most populated areas of ACT —Preceding unsigned comment added by Clayfield (talkcontribs) 07:30, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Semi protection?

Has vandalism been that bad that this needs to be locked? Can we request that it be unlocked? TIA --Tom 14:24, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

MiszaBot archiving this page incorrectly

Who started MiszaBot archiving this page? It happened for the first time today[5] but when it archived the information was saved to Talk:Australia/Archive 1 which already existed, as do pages 2-13. I've reverted the changes to avoid screwing up the archives but I don't know how to get the bot to start archiving from page 14. --AussieLegend (talk) 03:54, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

It's OK, I've now sorted it out, I hope. --AussieLegend (talk) 04:13, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Time for an audit of the language

I'm grateful that an editor as skilled as User:Noetica is giving a little of his time to this article. Looking at the lead doesn't inspire me with confidence that this still passes Criterion 1a of the WP:Featured Article Criteria. For example:

  • "As the population grew and new areas were explored, another five largely self-governing Crown Colonies were established during the 19th century."—Muddled time phrases. "Grew and new" jingle.
  • "Commencing"—reminds me of ballet school.
  • "indigenous Australians who lived sustainably on the land for around 40,000 years"—Could be POV in the word "sustainably". Not to cast aspersions on the genius of the aboriginal people, they did, like the whites who later invaded, cause massive changes to the landscape. Were these all "sustainable"?
  • "The capital city is Canberra, located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The population is just over 21.3 million ..."—Canberra's larger than I thought ... until I reread the whole statement. Tony (talk) 12:53, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Also seems overlinked. "Europe"? Many repeated links. It's almost a sea of blue. Tony (talk) 12:57, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Thanks Tony. I agree with you about those points of style, and I have now done something to fix them. Another editor has removed overlinking; but perhaps "unicameral" and "bicameral" ought still to be linked.
¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 22:01, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Further Reading needed

What's a person to do for followup reading on Australia. Go to amazon.com and enter "Australia" and get 304,000 books. I went to some of the major bibliographies and guides and looked at the 5% or 10% best reviewed books they recommended, and listed them here with some links. So it's a highly selected guide not a mere list, and is based on what experts actually recommend to readers. Rjensen (talk) 20:31, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Well they could start with books that were used as sources, the list of further reading is outrageous in its size, for broad topic areas like this the top 5% of Googles/Amazon books while an interesting way to decide its bias towards publications that are sold via these groups. Gnangarra 00:53, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
the list is not from Amazon or google, it's from the published bibliographies made by scholars. Someone who depends on the footnotes to the article will not get very far regarding topics like history, society, culture or art. The list of books is not outrageous for a topic as broad as Australia. There are 1 to 6 books on music, on art, on religion, on the media, on literature, folklore, military, etc. Rjensen (talk) 03:21, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

I removed it. It's excessive in size, raises POV questions as it is *recommended* list, and it's not what wikipedia is about. --Merbabu (talk) 06:53, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

what's a good size for the recommended readings? 10 books 25? 50? The books are not those recommended by Wiki, but those recommended by the expertson whom Wiki draws. There is at present no alternative source for this info on the web. Rjensen (talk) 08:08, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
I am saying we don't *recommend* any. The exessive number was a seperate issue. It is not wikipedia's job to fill in perceived gaps in the internet - there has to be a better reason for inclusion than that.--Merbabu (talk) 08:33, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia is in the business of supplying reliable, brief, factual non-POV information of use to multiple readers. That is exactly what's involved here. Wiki did not "recommend" the books. The experts recommend them, and Wiki depends entirely on those experts or it's OR. "excessive" is POV, for our list is much shorter than the bibliography in most books. It has to cover a LOT of territory--all of Australia indeed. Rjensen (talk) 09:48, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Template:Largest cities of Australia

I just discovered some changes had been made to Template:Largest cities of Australia that made it far too bulky for the article as well as placing two images of Brisbane close to each other, detracting from the article. Discussion regarding the changes had occurred at the talk pages of individual users, rather than on the template talk page, which is why the changes were missed. As this article is the only article where the template is used, it seems prudent to mention the changes here since they're changes that primarily directly affect this article. --AussieLegend (talk) 04:42, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

I wanted editors of this page to know that this template is still not accurate. It doesn't list the City of Ipswich which is a nearby city to Brisbane. It doesn't list Logan City, Queensland nor the Redland City Council which, as of 2008, is a city close to Brisbane. It lists the Sunshine Coast as a city but that is a region. And it doesn't include Caloundra, Queensland. I think it is misleading to not include them on this template but have them on the Template:Queensland cities. These cities (as defined by Wikipedia and themselves) have larger populations than some of the others on the page, so I'm not sure why they aren't on the list. I realise making the changes above unilaterally could be seen as disruptive so I've tried to start a discussion on two talk pages. - Shiftchange (talk) 01:42, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
The cities used in the template are based on the figures from List of cities in Australia by population#Capital city Statistical Divisions and Statistical Districts by population. I don't like the figures myself, because I don't think they represent a real-world view, but there seems to be consensus to use them. --AussieLegend (talk) 02:34, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Ethnicity and Population

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia was estimated to total 517,200 for 2006 (2.5% of total population). I request the 'Ethnic Groups' section should be updated to reflect this. [6] —Preceding unsigned comment added by AJF83 (talkcontribs) 02:58, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

That seems a quite valid suggestion but we can't just change the Aboriginal figure or we'll have a population percentage of around 102%. We need figures for the other groups. --AussieLegend (talk) 05:33, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
I located an appropriate reference at the ABS site and have updated the article. However, according to 2006 Census responses, only 0.45% of the population identified as Aboriginal.[7] --AussieLegend (talk) 07:34, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Is Australia a country or a continent?

Ok I was always debating this, is Australia a country or a continent? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Azamiz (talkcontribs) 01:15, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

There's nothing to debate, it's both. --AussieLegend (talk) 03:02, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
But how is that possible? Azamiz —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.245.82.251 (talk) 05:04, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
A continent is not a grouping of multiple countries... Have a read of continent. - Mark 05:06, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

IS this necessary

"As in many Western countries, the level of active participation in church worship is low and in decline;[68] weekly attendance at church services in 2004 was about 1.5 million: about 7.5% of the population.[69]"

I believe this to be unnecessary and unnotable data. Does the Australian Article really require this information. --Aamirc (talk) 04:24, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

I think it's relevant to the paragraph on religion, as it shows the big difference between people who are nominally part of a religion at census time and those who are active members of a religion. And it's cited. - Aucitypops (talk) 04:36, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. Just quoting census figures would give an incorrect view of the status of religion in Australian society. --Michael Johnson (talk) 05:43, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Famous Sporting Personalities or people?

Why is there no mention of Sir Donald Bradman? Surely he deserves a mention on the page. He was the greatest batsmen to ever live, why is he not mentioned on the Australian page. There should be a section created for it...--Aamirc (talk) 21:58, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Accept this inclusion?

..Nevertheless Australia's carbon dioxide emissions per capita are among the highest in the world, lower than only several other industrialised nations including the United States, Canada, and Norway. In 2000, Australia ranked 9th highest in terms of carbon emissions out of 185 countries, and was the amongst the developed countries that emit the most carbon. In 2009, Australia's placing is unknown, though assumed to be unchanged since 2000.

I cannot find recent statistics to verify so must make an assumption. Discuss. Source: List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions

First sentence

I plead for the first sentence

("Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the southern hemisphere comprising the mainland of the world's smallest continent, the major island of Tasmania, and numerous other islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.")

to be changed thus:

"Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, colloquially Oz, is a country in the southern hemisphere comprising the mainland of the world's smallest continent, the major island of Tasmania, and numerous other islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans."

--David Lightman (talk) 11:23, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

Ethnic Groups

According to the 2006 ABS table, Australians with Asian ancestry total 1,696,568, which is 8.1% of the population, yet in the Infobox's Ethnic Groups section it says Asians only constitute 4.87%. Did I calculate this wrong or...? Here's the link - GarrieFerron (talk) 04:36, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

I updated this information on 30 December 2008[8] and although the url in the citation for the data hasn't changed since,[9] the document now available from that link has. The previous document was 20680-c100-Australia (Australia).xls. The new document is 20680-c117-Australia (Australia).xls and the data is slightly different. I'm not sure how you arrived at 8.1% though. Your total is correct but that represents 6.67% of the total responses, not 8.1%. I've corrected the figures based on the new document. --AussieLegend (talk) 14:57, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
It's 8.1% according to the Asian Australian page. Also according to this article, it's approximately 10%. - GarrieFerron (talk) 01:06, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

29% Australian? infobox data

Although this is definitely many people's self-identification (at 37% of the population, though), no-one is really part of any "Australian" ethnic group. They still identify as Whites even if they have disowned or forgotten their European heritage. This is what it should look like:

  • x% Anglo-Celtic Australians
  • x% other Whites/Europeans
  • x% Indigenous Australians
  • x% Asian Australians
  • x% Other
  • x% Unstated

It makes far more sense than actually showing the "Australian" identity as a racial/ethnic group. Saimdusan Talk|Contribs 22:29, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

That's fine. When you do a census of your own and have the data to fill out the above organisation, let us know. - Mark 00:54, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Or when you manage to find an NPOV definition of "Anglo-Celtic" or "Whites". Orderinchaos 05:33, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Article bloat

A problem. Listing Lleyton as top two tennis players by Australia seems pretty POV. Maragerat Court 24 singles Grand Slam titles, and Rod Laver etc... YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 02:28, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Nicole Kidman? Who decides whether Silverchair gets a mention but Midnight Oil doesn't? This is not a "look at us list". I suggest the list of stars gets culled or removed altogether. --Merbabu (talk) 02:37, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Again, you just have to look at other country FAs and small lists such as these are tolerated. I'm not sure how you can debate the significance of Silverchair; they're definitely one of Australia's most successful bands in terms of charts and album sales. You can't say "Australia has an active tradition of music, ballet, and theatre" without listing some of the most famous artists to emerge from and epitomize these mediums in Australia; or "Australia has had a prosperous cinema industry since the 1960s" without listing films and actors that reflect and reinfornce this propsperity. --GarrieFerron (talk) 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Re Silverchair: are they? Savage Garden (who strangely escape mention), INXS and Midnight Oil have all done *significantly* better on the international stage. Orderinchaos 05:31, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Garrie that "Austraia has had a prosperous cinema industry" is kind of a nothing statement. It's also arguably POV - yes, should be removed. Also, this is an encycloepdia article, not the Sydney Olympic closing ceremony where we parade all our "international success" stories to the rest of the world. (although, perhaps this insistence on measuring our success by how well we do over seas is actually something we could mention!). --Merbabu (talk) 06:19, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Also, i think that simply because another article does something it not a reason to do it another - particularly when that thing has come into question. --Merbabu (talk) 06:29, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree - the culture section is simply a blue sea of links and isn't helpful to readers. Orderinchaos 05:32, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
The part about Silverchair is disputable. They've had more top 20 hits than any local artist and share the most ARIA nominations ever with John Farnham at 39, and with other bands Powderfinger and Savage Garden on 14 wins. They also are the only Australian band to have 5 albums debut at #1 on the Australian charts. And internationally they've done well, selling millions in the US and Europe (I'm not even a Silverchair fan, btw). In saying that, I agree the that the Culture section needs to be cut down some, but the lists don't necessarily have to go completely. --GarrieFerron (talk) 31 January 2009 (UTC)
So, your criteria for inclusion in this article is that they are successful? That's pretty bland. And they are not that influential - in fact, not much about Australian rock music or culture is. Let's stop trying to make something ore than it is. If there is not much to say, then that is fine.--Merbabu (talk) 06:29, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Album sales and chart rankings are the main requirement for notability with music artists on Wikipedia. How is listing Silverchair as a notable Australian rock group trying to make Australian culture "more than it is"? --GarrieFerron (talk) 31 January 2009 (UTC)
If every artist that met notability for Wikipedia was listed on the article, it would not make it any more encyclopaedic. This is not about artist notability, though - this is about the acceptable scope of a top level article about a country. At present the section is unreadable, and in need of fixing. Orderinchaos 10:37, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Oh, and as an aside, various artists have had several albums debut at #1 that I would daresay most Australians haven't even heard of (mostly in either the metal or pop-classical genres) - so what position they debut at is irrelevant. A mate I went to school with had an album debut at #3 not long ago (very good band IMO, but that's not the point). ARIA nominations is also irrelevant - the article Australia is for international readers, not an excuse for us to pat ourselves on the back. And Savage Garden and INXS are the only Australian artists, as far as I know, in the last 25 years to top the US charts. Orderinchaos 10:41, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Valid points. I think I'll stay out of this one from now on. Sorry for the troubles. --GarrieFerron (talk) 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Official Language of Australia

The official language of Australia is English. Why is the "Official Language" given as "None"? Just curious. Dinkydi (talk) 10:33, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

English does not have de jure status in Australia. English is the de facto language of Australia. In the infobox, it is listed accordingly. MvjsTalking 10:41, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
It's also explained in the Notes section of the article, under "N2". --AussieLegend (talk) 10:48, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
I've often wondered about this. I accept that there's no law that says English is the national language. But do we have to rely on a law to make something "official"? As Note 72 says: "English has no de jure status but it is so entrenched as the common language that it is de facto the official language as well as the national language". -- JackofOz (talk) 01:43, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
The simple answer is yes, it does have to be supported by law to be official. --AussieLegend (talk) 02:27, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Well then, why do we bother making the distinction between "de jure" and "de facto"? If it's not official at all, then no amount of qualification (de facto) will make it official. Can we not at least say that is the de facto official language, if not the de jure one? That's what the note already says, after all. Either it's correct, in which case we should be able to use those words elsewhere; or it's not, and it should be removed entirely. -- JackofOz (talk) 02:42, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
One of the reasons that we make the distinction is to highlight the fact that, despite what some people may think, English isn't the official language. We also have to point out that despite its lack of de jure status is is the defacto national language so even though in law (de jure) there is no official language, in practice (de facto) there is one. --AussieLegend (talk) 09:18, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
De 'facto national language' should be the wording then, not 'de facto official language'.--David Lightman (talk) 11:17, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm no expert, but this isn't entirely clear to me: Isn't the fact that the laws of the country themselves are written in English only (isn't this the ultimate support by law enough?) and acceptable to interpretation in English (the court system is in English, you must have interpreters otherwise, e.g. there is no German-speaking court where you can get by purely knowning German [and/or English-only speakers need interpreters]); the fact that the recent citizenship test requires sufficient proficiency in English, and numerous other examples that exist I'm sure, enough to call English the official language? There is no place in mainstream Australia where you could get by on official business without English or having means of interpreting yourself into English. Sounds pretty official to me. Why does it need to be written in law specifically (esp. in light of the former statements about the laws being written in English)?

This sounds like an excessively pedantic (and certainly against common sense) technical requirement that somebody came up with. What is the value of having such strict technical requirements? Suggesting only de jure status has certain connotations that come along with it, suggesting that there are exceptions to the rule. There aren't any such exceptions in Australia. What region do you know that some other language has de jure status with respect to 'official business', or where some other language comes even close to qualifying as 'official'?

Furthermore I think the fact that writing that a country has NO official language is ludicrous. There is ALWAYS at least one official language! There must be! This should be an axiom.

Might I add that Encyclopaedia Britannica clearly states without any of this mumbo-jumbo that English is Australia's official language?

I vote for revoking this and stating that English is Australia's official language, for the simple fact that it's true. Longest Journey (talk) 16:56, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

English has no legal status as the official language. Therefore, it isn't the official language. It's as simple as that, as I pointed out above.[10] That the laws are written in English doesn't give it official status. However, it does help to support its status as the defacto language. The laws could be written in Swahili and still be enforceable. This is not as unusual as you may think. The United States has no official language either. Guess what? English isn't even recognised as the official language in England either. It just has defacto status because it's the most common language. Ironically, in England, Cornish is officially recognised as a regional language. --AussieLegend (talk) 18:07, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be preferable to format it in the infobox as in the United Kingdom article (or the England article)? Not writing "None" in official languages, and instead writing "English (de facto)", and doing without this whole "national language" field? It's very very strange the way it is now (for reasons I have mentioned just above). —Longest Journey (talk) 08:40, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
If you follow the Official language link you'll see that "an official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other territory." English has no legal status so it would be misleading, not to mention incorrect, to place it in that field. As it stands now the article is correct. If anything needs fixing it's the articles that you mentioned. An encyclopaedia should present the facts and not perpetuate misunderstandings. --AussieLegend (talk) 09:29, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Just going by the primary definition of a term can sometimes lead one up the garden path. Reading further on at Official language, we find:
  • True official languages are those designated as such by a regulation or law, such as the Māori Language Act or the Welsh Language Act 1967. However many languages are considered to be de facto official languages, meaning that although a language may have no official status in a particular country, it is the most commonly used language in that country and the one usually used in official settings. One example of this is the English language in the United States. The US has no official language (although 30 US states do), but because English is used for most official matters and the most commonly spoken language, it can be considered the official language in practice if not in law.
Exactly the same thing applies in the UK, Australia and some other countries. Can we not say that it is the official language (and, if we must qualify it in some way, acknowledge that it has no specific legal status)? When it comes to languages and some other matters, de facto is just as significant and important as de jure. In fact, if there's ever a conflict, in many/most cases de facto would win. Certain words have a legal meaning, and a different general meaning. Courts have sometimes recognised this, to allow interpretations based on the general meaning to be considered reasonable and acceptable interpretations; which has in some cases required the law to be amended to make the meaning unambiguous. -- JackofOz (talk) 23:50, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. If English did not have a de facto official language status, student visa applications would not be contingent on passing the IELTS, nor would other visa holders, and English would not be required to complete senior secondary studies. Orderinchaos 05:40, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Britain is said to have no written constitutions, that does not mean that there is no laws there. Many of them are conventions. Likewise English is the language of Australia, and not Chinese, Hindi, Germans, Telugu etc. The writing of the article, despite seeming scholarly is of shallow understanding. Moreover, why should the culture be called 'multicultural'. It more or less displays a non-understanding of other cultures, many of which are totally the opposite of English.

The culture is connected to English; may be a variation. Culture and language are more or less deeply connected. The aboriginal culture can be defined as such and the culture of the immigrant population, especially from non-English nations, may be called that. But there is no need to say that Australia as such is multicultural, which can be a very, very dangerous input.

There is also a whisper of a feel that Britain was a villain in the scheme of events, and that Australia more or less escaped the British tyranny and escaped to American protection. It is only intelligent to understand that the US is also running on British cultural inputs and not German or Indian. I think a bit of emphasis on the fact that Australian voters rejected a proposal to become a republic with a president, meaning that they want to retain British connection would be apt.

The article has the feel of a third world history text book writing. I speak of the first few paragraphs. --Ved from Victoria Institutions (talk) 05:19, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Settlement

Is 'settlement' the appropriate word? While 'invasion' might seem too harsh, I think something that reflects the invasive nature of the occupation would be more appropriate.

Settlement is the correct word. "Invasion" or "invasive" is an emotive term. The First Fleet arrival was relatively peaceful. It's not as if they rushed ashore with muskets shooting Aboriginals on sight. --AussieLegend (talk) 21:17, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Australian Continent

User:AKAF clearly thinks that PNG and NZ [11] is part of the Australian continent however thats not the case as the Oxford English Dictionary states "One of the main continuous bodies of land on the earth's surface." (IE: Australian mainland which is stated on Defats website) however it's true that PNG and NZ are part of the Oceania continent and Indo-Australian Plate (On the edge). Bidgee (talk) 13:38, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Also when I said it the edit summary regarding File:Continental models.gif I was talking about the image not having any source (Reliable sources that is). Bidgee (talk) 13:41, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
The DFAT Website is advertising, commonly known as "not a reliable source". Did you actually read any of the 16 sources which I gave you? All of them which postdate the discovery of plate tectonics, show at least New Guinea as part of the Australian continent. I'll add that of the 16 sources, only 1 (The Oxford English) supports your conclusion, and a quick perusal of the Oxford_English_Dictionary article indicates that the date of this entry is probably, at latest, 1972 (and more likely significantly earlier). AKAF (talk) 13:54, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
DFAT is not an advertising website, It's infact a Government website. The sources that you claim back's up that image and your claim don't and also don't show maps marking out the continent (Also images on Wikipedia can't be used to source your view or articles.) Bidgee (talk) 13:59, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
(DFAT is not an advertising website. It's infact a Government website.) ?????? I think this is the point where I give up in disgust. In the very first reference (Ref 13) The World - Continents is a map. And look, in the second reference (Ref 14) Continent, see that picture which you can click on, it's got red lines marking the continent edges. If that's too much, go to google image search, and type in "continents" and prepare to be amazed! AKAF (talk) 14:20, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Thats infact the Oceania continent those maps show (Oceania Continent and this image shows the Oceania Continent)and not the Australian continent. The Mainland (Australian continent) is part of the Oceania continent. PNG and NZ is part of the Oceania continent not the Australian. Bidgee (talk) 14:39, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Culture section in need of a rewrite

Between endless lists, obscure rants about art movements which have little connection with any part of mainstream Australia, and prose which would be quite at home in the narration for Perth's Lotto Skyworks each year, this section completely fails to actually present a picture of Australia's culture in a meaningful and comprehensible way to non-Australians. The Canadians, Americans and even the Kiwis are miles ahead of us on this one - we can do better! Orderinchaos 11:12, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree; also it needs MORE SOURCES - since this article was first listed as FA in 2005 the standards have become more prestigous. I think someone needs to put this article up for review - but I don't want to, since I'm not that familiar with Australian culture other than AC/DC, Dido, Kylie Minogue, and Yvonne Strahovski (I do watch Chuck though). --Andrewlp1991 (talk) 07:11, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
WE don't need to if we're willing to fix it right here. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 07:13, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Fine then. If improvement doesn't come within a couple months then review should come in our minds. --Andrewlp1991 (talk) 18:51, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

wow

wow people what a lot of information! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.235.69.245 (talk) 07:25, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Etymology

The name Australia popularised by A Voyage to Terra Australia, even though that text only contains the name once, in a footnote? I think not. And the source—The Weekend Australian! I'll be fixing this section shortly. Hesperian 03:04, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Done. The info is there, and with rock solid citations; but the prose probably needs a bit of cleaning up. Hesperian 03:41, 14 February 2009 (UTC)


Proposal for a new summary in the Culture section

New summary (variable):

An Australian culture developed from the experience of European settlers, and diverged from the settlers ancestral cultures, while some aspects of these cultures were retained. The distinctive hybrid culture arose due to isolation from the ancestral cultures, experiences in the country's natural environment, and contact with the Australian Indigenous cultures. It continued to develop in the 20th century due to influence of American popular culture (particularly television and cinema), Australia's Asian neighbours, and further evolved thereafter due to immigration from more countries.

As opposed to this:

Since 1788, the primary basis of Australian culture has been Anglo-Celtic, although distinctive Australian features soon arose from the country's natural environment and Indigenous cultures. Since the middle of the 20th century, Australian culture has been influenced by American popular culture (particularly television and cinema), by Australia's Asian neighbours, and by large-scale immigration from non-English-speaking countries.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Millere08 (talkcontribs)

disagree. The existing text is more succinct and less verbose, and the additions you propose are not cited.--Merbabu (talk) 04:06, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Use of non-metric measures

The article has non-metric measures in brackets in the text. The text would be less cluttered without them. What do other editors think of getting rid of them? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Michael Glass (talkcontribs) 05:50, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

The clutter is necessary because a great many users do not use or understand metric measures. The article is meant to be understood by all English-speakers, including Americans. -Rrius (talk) 05:59, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Sigh. A little mess we can't clean up because of the Americans. C'est la vie, Pussycat. Michael Glass (talk) 11:57, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
And the English and all of the other countries that don't use metric. You may care to read Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers), particularly Units of measurement. --AussieLegend (talk) 12:32, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
I agree with AL and think it is best to show both measurements even if it does clutter the article a bit. I have to admit that I doubted many American articles would bother to cater for the rest of the metric world, but a quick browse of some random city articles shows that they do. Has a bot been busy converting all the measurements in articles? Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 14:14, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
And all of the other countries that don't use metric are: Myanmar and Liberia. But let it rest. It's a lost cause, anyway. Michael Glass (talk) 12:33, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Update of employment and migrant program.

In May 2008, Immigration Minister Chris Evans said that he wanted “a major overhaul of the migrant program to boost numbers, promote unskilled as well as skilled applicants” and that “cabinet is expected to approve a pilot program for a guest worker scheme from the South Pacific. Senator Evans called this a "stalking horse" for the larger debate on unskilled migration. Labor promises massive increase in migration to lure workers

In February 2009, Australia will cut its annual immigration intake for the first time in eight years due to the slowing economy and weakening demand for labour, Immigration Minister Chris Evans said today. "It is fair to say that we expect the demand in the economy for labour to reduce. As it is a program very much linked to the demand for labour, we expect to run a smaller program." Slowing economy forces immigration cut 23Feb 2009

Justdata4wiki (talk) 02:26, 8 March 2009 (UTC) 08 March 2009 - AL

That information is at far too low a level to be suitable for this article. Nick-D (talk) 02:28, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Politics

Since the election of 3 December 2007, the Labor Party led by the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been in power.

The election was actually held on 24 November 2007.58.179.171.59 (talk) 15:43, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

History wars

I added some citations to the history wars and tried to summarize both sides of the rather angry dispute. for a long bibliography of online sources see Questia's guideRjensen (talk) 08:10, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

29 percent of people in Australia Australian?

"29.06% Australian, 0.45% Australian Aboriginal, 52.8% European, 6.67% Asian, 4.69% Other, 6.33% Unstated[1]"?

Huh? How is 29 percent of the Australian population Australian?—Preceding unsigned comment added by [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{1}}}|talk]] • [[Special:Contributions/{{{1}}}|contribs]])

It doesn't say 29 percent of the Australian population is Australian. This section refers specifically to ethnicity. At the 2006 Census, 29% of respondents indicated that their parental ancestry was Australian, as indicated in the citation. --AussieLegend (talk) 06:54, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure that everyone taking the census properly understood the question at hand, then. Unless immigration of Australia is at a worldwide high, I find it hard to believe that half the population is directly European. This is where demographics becomes hard: were you born here, were your parents born here, were your grandparents born here? Sure, the caucasian population probably came from Europe at some time in the past 200 years, but when can a people start to identify themselves as being from where they are, i.e. when can these people identify themselves as 'Australian'. It seems hard to measure in this context, but maybe it's easier than I think. Maybe I misunderstood the question!Farglesword (talk) 21:56, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

The problem seems to be that some editors assume there is some scientific or rational basis for ethnic classifications. In fact ethnicity always has been based on self-identification, or arbitrary classification by others. The question asks for self-identity, which ia as valid a way to define ethnic origins as any other. --Michael Johnson (talk) 00:03, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

We have alota immigrants so australian would stand for the original settlers--Gcpeoples (talk) 05:15, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

I'd find it hard to believe that people didn't understand the question, which simply asked where their parents were born. 52.8% of responses said that one or both of their parents were born in a European country. That doesn't mean that the respondent was born in Europe so I don't see an issue with the figure. --AussieLegend (talk) 05:50, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
I think you've misunderstood the documentation here; there is no question on the 2001 or 2006 Census that asks for that level of data about where respondents' parents were born. (There's a copy of the 2006 form near the end of the online Census Dictionary, and the 2001 form is here.)
Questions 14 and 15 (13 and 14 on the 2001 form) ask "Was the person's father/mother born in Australia or overseas?" There is no option to indicate where overseas; in this data, 'country of birth of parents' is provided only at the level of 'Australia' vs 'rest of world'.
Question 18 asks "What is the person’s ancestry?" The question itself doesn't mention parents, but it points respondents at page 7 of the Census Guide for more information. That section states: "...Ancestry is not necessarily related to the place a person was born but is more the cultural group that they most closely identify with. For example, a person may be born in New Zealand but have Samoan ancestry." While it advises respondents to "consider the origins of the person's parents and grandparents for example", it certainly doesn't lock 'ancestry' in with country of parents' birth - indeed, it encourages people who are descendants of indentured South Sea Islanders to describe themselves as 'Australian South Sea Islander', even though those ancestors would have arrived in Australia about 100 years ago.
The source we're looking at, "Ancestry by Country of Birth of Parents " combines data from these three questions. However, since the analysis used to populate Australia's infobox only uses the 'total' column, it ignores all information supplied on questions 13 & 14; the only thing it represents is responses to question 18. Which doesn't "simply ask where their parents were born", not by a long shot. (Apologies for the late response to this point, but this talk page is getting pretty bloated and it's easy to miss stuff.) --GenericBob (talk) 00:48, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

And where did you get that number from, AussieLegend? I've looked at the data, and only 9, 000 Australians identified as 'European'. Most Australians of European ethnic origin identify as German, English, Italian, etc. not as just 'European'. Besides, Anglo-Celtic people that identified their ancestry as English, Scots, Irish, etc. do not form a distinct ethnic group from those who identified their ancestry as just 'Australian', and the field clearly says 'ethnic groups' not 'self-identified ancestral identity'. Aren't many European Australians of more than one European ancestry, anyway? Does the Census allow more than one answer to the "ancestry" question? Saimdusan Talk|Contribs 05:15, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

Also, where did the number for 'Asian' come from? Does it include subcontinental Indians? Does it include Middle Easterners? If it includes Middle Easterners, does it include Egyptian Arabs? If it does not, why would Lebanese Arabs, who are more related to Egyptian Arabs than to Chinese, be included in this category? Saimdusan Talk|Contribs 05:17, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
I am going to remove the ethnic groups field from the article for the time being, as how it stands now it just serves to confuse and would better be served in a section rather than just "29% Australian, 53% European, 7% Asian, etc.". It should however be added again once this issue is solved. Saimdusan Talk|Contribs 05:19, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
The data came straight from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as indicated in the citation provided in support of the data. The ethnicities listed are summaries based on the origin of the parents, ie parents from England, Gemany, Italy, Greece etc are listed as European, Chinese, Filipino, Vietnamese are listed as Asian etc., as per convention. I really don't know where you got the rather ridiculous figure of 9,000 Europeans. There were 13,427,947 responses indicating that one or both parents were from European countries. That's a tad higher than 9,000.
There should be no confusion at all, especially if you take the time to read the citation provided. Since the information is cited and since the citation is from a reliable source I've restored it. If you can provide a better source than the ABS for the data then there might be reason to remove it, but until then it should stay. Don't delete cited information just because you didn't bother to check the citation. --AussieLegend (talk) 05:51, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
So, I did take the time to read the cited document. In the first part (2001 census) it states:
  • Both parents born overseas: Responses (6,027,352) Persons (5,410,162)
  • Father only born overseas: Responses (1,849,204) Persons (1,245,494)
  • Mother only born overseas: Responses (1,214,965) Persons (815,324)
  • Both parents born in Australia: Responses (12,258,949) Persons (9,983,897)
  • Country of birth not stated: Responses (1,218,001) Persons (1,133,431)
  • Total responses: Responses (22,568,471) Persons (18,588,308)
Giving the following percentages for 2001:
  • Both parents born overseas: 26.71%/29.11%
  • Father only born overseas: 8.19%/6.7%
  • Mother only born overseas: 5.38%/4.39%
  • Both parents born in Australia: 54.32%/53.71%
  • Country of birth not stated: 5.4%/6.1%
  • Total responses: 100%/100%
For 2006 it looks pretty similar
  • Both parents born overseas: 26.51%/29.56%
  • Father only born overseas: 8.32%/6.55%
  • Mother only born overseas: 5.66%/4.43%
  • Both parents born in Australia: 53.07%/51.79%
  • Country of birth not stated: 6.44%/7.68%
  • Total responses: 100%/100%
I'm not sure why the responses and persons are not the same, so I've given both numbers. It looks like the table in the article has either switched the numbers from the European and Australian parts, since its hardly possible for both parents to have been born in Australia and be European or its using the 13 Million responses you cite. This is the sum of the self-described ethnicity of the respondent, rather than where the parents were born. The citation is quite confusing though. Particularly since "Australian" isn't really a recognised ethnicity. Probably it would be better to group "Australian" with "other". AKAF (talk) 11:21, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Firstly, there may be discrepancies between the figures in the article and what I've written above, and what I'm about to present because, once again, the ABS has changed the document linked to at the url in the citation. This was previously discussed and the article updated to reflect the more detailed data in the newer document.[12] The url is now linking to the older document again so I'll refer to the figures in that document in the following paragraphs, rather than the document that was used for the article.
The figures in each column are responses, not people. That can be confirmed simply by adding the columns and comparing the results to the two totals for each column. The only place that persons are used is in the totals section and the persons totals don't relate directly to the totals for individual ethnicities. In the right-most column (Total), there were 6,674,946 responses who identified as Australian out of a total of 22,568,471. That represents 29.57% of the total responses. The European ethnicities (Croatian, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Macedonian, Maltese, Polish, Russian, Scottish, Serbian, Spanish and Welsh) represent a total of 11,798,539, or 52.278%.
The purpose of the infobox information is to show the breakdown of the country and I think there would be more confusion if "Australian" was not identified as an ethnicity or if Australian was lumped in with "other". Either of these would give the impression that there were no people identifying themselves as Australians living in Australia and that's just plain silly. --AussieLegend (talk) 12:20, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, the document isn't easy to read. I think the thing which people are objecting to is to referring to "Australian" as an ethnicity rather than a nationality. Certainly over half of all respondents would refer to themselves as Australian, since both parents were born in Australia. Its a bit pointless at some juncture to cite the document, when fully 1/3 of all respondents effectively have no ethnicity (~36%=Australian plus no comment). That gives an error margin of +60% on the figure for European ethnicity and +600% on the figure for Asian ethnicity. With these kinds of margins for error it would be better to leave out the data or look for a better source. AKAF (talk) 13:59, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

I think the problem here is that ethnicity is something that is difficult to define, and that self-definition is about the only reasonable way to go about it. There is no "scientific" definition of ethnic origin, and to try and impose one is to start on a slippery slope towards racism. So if people want to identify themselves in an ethnic way as "Australian" good luck to them. And no I don't think we should assume anything about what that means (ie we can't assume such people are of European decent, for instance). --Michael Johnson (talk) 23:44, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

I agree. Self identification explains why there are some peculiar figures in the source document, such as 1,455 of the 93,486 respondents who identified themselves as "Australian Aboriginal" stating that both parents were born overseas. --AussieLegend (talk) 06:00, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
The point which I was trying to make is that, although the reference exists, the quality of the data is dubious at best. I don't see that its so important that the article would fail without this piece of information. It's not like the article is struggling for length, so I would suggest removing the data from the infobox. The data needs more context, which can be better provided in the text. AKAF (talk) 06:48, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
"quality of the data is dubious at best". Do you realise that the Australian Bureau of Statistics is a Australian Government body (Similar to the United States Census Bureau) meaning that it's the most reliable source that you're going to get and find. Just because you think it's wrong that it should be removed. If you don't agree with the figures then take it up with the ABS. Bidgee (talk) 08:13, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
The data is from a very reliable source so it's not really up to us to dispute it unless we have citations from more reliable sources to the contrary. Infoboxes are supposed to summarise information from the main document. There should be discussion on it in the prose that gives it context anyway. Deleting it from the infobox just because somebody doesn't understand it is not appropriate. If we were to delete information for that reason, most infoboxes would be empty. --AussieLegend (talk) 07:02, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
A reliable source can, and does, produce unreliable data when the signal to noise ratio is high. I'm particularly commenting that its pretty brainless to quote this source as reliable for the figure of 6.67% Asian when 6.33% left their ethnicity unstated and 26% refused to comment, and left their ethnicity as "Australian". In this case the "true" figure for asian ethnicity could well be 12% or 20% and be fully consistent with the data. If we were honest in quoting the data accurately we would use error bars and divide the nonspecific data between the specific respondents, using the assumption that no specific group refused to answer this question (which assumption is invalid, but anyway). In this case the data would look something like this:
  1. 0.7% \pm 0.2% Australian Aboriginal
  2. 81.7% \pm 28.9% European
  3. 10.3% \pm 3.7% Asian
  4. 7.3% \pm 2.6% Other
The values should definitely only be quoted to one decimal place, and probably better to one significant figure. As they stand, the values are a red flashing sign that the writers of the article don't understand data analysis. Please understand that these figures are no more original research than the numbers currently in the article, since "percent ethnicity" is not a component of that document. AKAF (talk) 13:11, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
There's really not much that can be done if people don't wish to state their ethnicity. All you can do is to include the unstated figure in the list, so that the reader realises that there is a margin of error in the figures, and that has been done. I'm not sure what you mean about 26% percent refusing to comment. Only 5.6% (using the figures in the current source) refused to identify an ethnicity. As for identifying as Australian, it's already been said that there's nothing wrong with that. My parents and grand-parents were born in Australia and I identify as Australian. As far as I'm concerned that's my ethnicity. I'm sure many feel the same way. Your claims regarding percentage errors do constitue original research since they're not explicitly stated in the document and you need to make assumptions to arrive at the errors that you've presented. The figure are stated, which is why we use them. Working out percentages (not percentage errors) based on the stated figures is not original research, because no assumption is necessary. Anyone reading the document can work out that 6,674,946 is 29.58% of 22,568,471 without making a single assumption. --AussieLegend (talk) 13:54, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
The errors, sure. I mean the percentages calculated in the way above. Particularly since the percentages in the article are not quoted from the document, but are assembled from the document. AKAF (talk) 14:29, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Of course they refused to state an ethnicity, AussieLegend. Once again, 'Australian' is not an ethnicity. White Australians who identified as Australian are not distinct from White Australians who identified as some European. I got the 9,000 figure from the data itself, the data says that 9,000 people identifed their ancestry as 'European'. Of course, it also says that there are millions of people identifying with particular European peoples. But pulling this new meaning out of the census data is WP:OR. The Aborigines are the true 'ethnic Australians' and Anglo-Celtic Australians should not perpetuate this false hierarchy with whites/aussies at the top, wogs/ethnics in the middle and abos/blacks at the bottom. I can understand seeing a second-generation paki (Punjabi) and wog (Serb, Slovene, Russian) such as myself as non-Australian but definitely Indigenous peopple are Australians! The best thing to do would be to simply show the ancestry data as it is - show the highest reported ancestries (rather than this WP:OR 'European' identity that I as a European Australian actually do support), then add a note for 'Australian'. Fixed, simple enough. Saimdusan Talk|Contribs 04:59, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Once again, 'Australian' is not an ethnicity Why not? It seems to me to be an act of arrogance, or indeed racism, to try and appropriate people to ethnic groups they don't identify with. There is no scientific basis to ethnic definitions, only historical, cultural, political and geographical definitions, and these are both variable and numerous. So there are no hard and fast rules regarding ethnicity. If people identify as "Australian" that is what they are. And once again, no assumption can be made that they are necessarily of European decent. --Michael Johnson (talk) 23:21, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Identifying as Australian is not refusing to state an ethnicity. It's stating that your ethnic group is Australian. The makeup of ethnic groups evolves over time. Ethnic groups aren't created one day and then stay the same for ever. People in England, many of whom descended from Roman occupiers of the British Isles aren't classified as Italian. They're classed as English. It's a similar story in Australia (and everywhere else). My family's roots in Australia date back to the First Fleet so I regard myself as Australian, not European, despite the fact that my ancestors are originally from there. Your definitions of various ethnic groups certainly seem to have some racist undertones.
As for your mythical figure of 9,000, looking at the citation I see no evidence supporting that. The smallest figure listed is 43,831 and that's for Americans.
That leaves the rather silly claim that identifying people from Europe as European is WP:OR. I'm really not sure what to say about that one. --AussieLegend (talk) 07:13, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
You had 512 relatives on the first fleet? Congratulations! Would it not be better to use the data for where the parents were born instead of the self-reported ethnicities? This is probably significantly more reliable and gives a more solid (but different) demographic picture. Just put the percentages for whom one or more parent was born in $COUNTRY. Improves the quality and still gives an idea of the immigrant makeup. For a table you don't want any data which requires multiple minutes of analysis to understand. It's far better to only report facts for which there is high-quality data. Ethnicity data will always be dubious, and no amount of massaging will help that. AKAF (talk) 07:44, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
"You had 512 relatives on the first fleet?" - What the hell are you talking about?
"Would it not be better to use the data for where the parents were born instead of the self-reported ethnicities?" - Because that isn't identified in the source data. "Overseas" is not an ethnicity. --AussieLegend (talk) 07:58, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I was simply pointing out that you have >512 ancestors who were of reproductive age in the 1790s, to say that your ethnicity is wholly defined by one of them is the height of craziness. Many Australians have at least one Aboriginal relative (mostly this was hidden by the family) but this is not a defining trait of ethnicity, if it was more than 100 years back. The table indicates where the parents of the respondents were born. Is there another way to read it? AKAF (talk) 11:45, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Once again, ethnicity is self defining. If people identify as Australian, it really doesn't matter if there ancestors arrived 30,000 years ago, 200 years ago, or yesterday. That's what they are. You're welcome to produce a source that argues differently. --Michael Johnson (talk) 23:21, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break

1. Even Anglo-Australian assimilationist ethnic nationalists do not see themselves as being of Australian ethnicity. They (and presumably you, AussieLegend, do too) see themselves as "white".

2. In this context, claiming that people from Europe are European IS original research. The source that is cited does not mention the word "European". Not once. If one looks at the full classification list by sex, 9, 000 people identified their ancestry as European. AussieLegend, what is your definition of European? More importantly, why should we go by your definition? Does 'European' include Turks? Why/why not? Aren't some Turks 'from' Asia? But how can one know which Turks are 'European' and which 'Asian' based on the data? Why 'European'? Why not Eurasian, or for that matter, Afro-Eurasian? Why not western/northern/eastern/southern European? 3. The cited data shows responses to the question "What is your ancestry?". The data does not mention "ethnicity". 4. Where did you get the data for 'European' anyway? Did you lump all of the 'European' respondents together? You do realize that one can select two ancestries on the census, right? This would mean that the data overlaps, so they can't be tallied together. 5. Why did you put 'Australian' respondents first? Europeans were larger. Saimdusan Talk|Contribs 06:11, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

1. "Anglo-Australian assimilationist ethnic nationalists" - Did you get that from a buzzphrase generator? I, and I'm sure most people, have no idea what that means. As for being white, what does that have to do anything?
2. I think you completely misunderstand the concept of original research, a policy that states, "Wikipedia does not publish original research or original thought. This includes unpublished facts, arguments, speculation, and ideas; and any unpublished analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position." Claiming that somebody from Europe is European is none of those things. Quite simply, since you seem to be having trouble with this, somebody from the continent of Europe is European. It's a well known, uncontroversial fact. It's somewhat ironic that you've asked what definitions I've used since there are wikilinks to the appropriate articles right next to the figures presented. I've just confirmed them for your benefit. I really don't see why you should have an issue with this. The information in the source document has been summarised into European, Asian etc because, as I've already stated, the infobox is a summary of what's in the article. Detailed lists shouldn't be included. When we did include more detail, there was an issue with people who couldn't understand that there are more Germans in Australia than Greeks now.
3. I suggest that you click on the "ANCESTRY" link in the source. If you do, you'll see that the ABS believes that "a person’s ancestry, when used in conjunction with the person’s country of birth and whether the person’s parents were born in Australia or overseas, provides a good indication of the ethnic background of first and second generation Australians". (bolding added for emphasis) Granted, the source includes everyone, but that's really not an issue.
4. You are clearly missing the point. The first and last columns are all that are relevant. The first column identifies the respondent's ethnicity, the last identifies the number of respondents who identify with that ethnicity. Where the respondent's parents were born is not important. What is important is the ethnic group with which the respondents identify.
5. Because this is an article about Australia, so Australian seems the most relevant ethnicity. The source document does the same. If this was an article about India, I'd put Indian first. It's not rocket science. --AussieLegend (talk) 07:26, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

" Anglo- Australian assimilationist ethnic nationalists " -- or ' Bogan ' Lejon (talk) 05:04, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, ancestry is an indicator of ethnicity, but that doesn't make them the same thing. The source document describes the data as 'ancestry', and in other edits you've been punctilious about sticking to the exact wording used by the ABS; let's apply the same standard here. You will notice that the Census question which provided this data refers only to 'ancestry' and doesn't refer to 'ethnicity' at any point. --GenericBob (talk) 05:30, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Further, the percentages given in this article are not taken from the cited source; they're derived from it, apparently by dividing the number of responses in each category by 'total responses'. This is misleading, since it gives readers the impression that only 29.6% of respondents identified ancestry as 'Australian', when in fact 35.9% did so (6,674,946 of 18,588,308). --GenericBob (talk) 05:45, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
The figures are derived by simple mathematics, directly from the source data. Anyone, well almost anyone it seems, can verify the results. The figure of 6,674,946 that you've quoted is the figure for 2001, not 2006. The 2006 figure is is 7,371,824. In any case, your result is in error for 2001 because you've divided by the number of persons rather than by the number of responses. You've divided the number of apples on the bench by the number of oranges that you've eaten to determine the number of grapefruit left on the tree. That's why you've arrived at 35.9% for 2001, instead of the correct figure of 29.57%. Just to make it clear for anyone else who may look at the wrong data, the relevant cells are A56:A88 (ethnic group), G56:G88 (number of responses for the corresponding cells in column A), and G89 (Total responses). Eveything else is irrelevant. --AussieLegend (talk) 07:29, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I was using the 2001 figures because those were the ones that you put in the article, and the percentages given were derived from those 2001 figures. Now that we've updated to 2006 figures, I'm happy to discuss those; the numbers are slightly different but the problems are unchanged.
The first is representing the data as 'ethnic groups', when the source (and the Census question on which that data is based) do not make any such representation. It's certainly related to ethnicity, but that doesn't make it the same thing. The ABS' notes on ancestry specify that it is a "good indication" of ethnic background of first and second generation Australians, when used in conjunction with the person's country of birth (which is a separate data item - Q12 on the Census form). Neither of those conditions apply here.
As an illustration of why terminology is important here, compare the responses to this question with the question on Indigenous identity. When asked "is the personal of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?" (Q7), 425,511 people ticked 'yes' to Aboriginal ancestry (that includes 17,811 who also ticked TSI)[13]. But when asked about their ancestry (Q18 on the same form), only 115,820 people identified Aboriginal ancestry. At first glance, either of those two do look like they should be 'close enough' to ethnicity - but they disagree by half an order of magnitude! When the response is so sensitive to the way the question is worded, it's vital that Wikipedia represents that wording accurately. We should not be talking about 'ethnic group' when the source is based on 'ancestry'.
The second is that dividing by number of responses is inappropriate. When a reader sees "51.05% European, 6.33% unstated", the natural interpretation is that 51.05% of Australian people answered 'European', and 6.33% didn't answer - and this is incorrect. In fact, about 8.1% of respondents didn't answer at all. At the point where you decide that it's more appropriate to divide by responses than people, you're engaging in interpretation, and we get into the realm of original research.
I would appreciate it if you'd refrain from snideness; it's not conducive to amicable editing. And please don't remove accuracy tags until the issue has been resolved. --GenericBob (talk) 01:02, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Dividing by the number of responses is entirely appropriate because all of the numerical data in rows 18-51 and 56-89 are numbers of responses, not numbers of people. There are only 12 cells (B52:G52 and B90:G90) that refer to persons. There is no explanation in the source of how the figures in rows 52 and 90 were determined, only an explanation of why they do not correspond the the numbers of responses (cells A97 and A98). If you tally the figures in each column you will see that the totals correspond to the values in rows 51 and 89, not 52 and 90. You CAN NOT divide the number of responses by the number of persons, as you did to arrive at the incorrect figure of 8.1% instead of the correct figure of 6.33% because, as is stated in the source, the sourcee "is a multi-response table, and therefore the total responses count will not necessarily equal the total persons count." Dividing the number of responses by the total number of persons is not just OR, it's WP:SYNTH. --AussieLegend (talk) 08:40, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Can you explain why all other computations on the data are WP:SYNTH while your computation is not? AKAF (talk) 09:08, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
More precisely: Could you please provide the row and column number where in the source it is explicitly stated that 51.05% of Australians are European, as required by WP:SYNTH? AKAF (talk) 09:11, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

WP:Primary sources states: All interpretive claims, analyses, or synthetic claims about primary sources must be referenced to a secondary source, rather than original analysis of the primary-source material by Wikipedia editors. It then names census results as an example. In the preface to the ASC:CEG

It is difficult to define ethnicity in a way that is both useful and generally acceptable and it is not the function of this document to attempt an extensive definition of the concept. However, because the words ‘ethnicity’ and ‘ethnic’ are associated with many different meanings it is useful to provide some definitional material. The Macquarie Dictionary (Third Edition, 1997) provides the following meanings:

1. relating to or peculiar to a population, especially to a speech group, loosely also to a race. 2. relating to the origin, classification, characteristics, etc., of such groups. 3. of or relating to members of the community who are migrants or descendants of migrants and whose native language is not English. 4. recognisable as coming from an identifiable culture.
For the purposes of ASCCEG it is sufficient, and not controversial, to say that the term ‘ethnicity’ refers to the shared identity or similarity of a group of people on the basis of one or more factors, including the following which were enunciated in a report entitled The Measurement of Ethnicity in the Australian Census of Population and Housing [Borrie report, 1986]

... Since the publication of the Borrie Report in April 1984, the multicultural nature of Australian society has further developed resulting in a more sophisticated and enlightened approach to cultural diversity. Nevertheless, ... Dennis Trewin ASC:CEG, 2000-01

It is appropriate to challenge any information interpreted or extrapolated from data in a primary source, even if it was given some context in the article. The data was collated and massaged, apparently, "to satisfy wide community interest in the ethnic and cultural composition of the Australian population and the characteristics of particular migrant community groups.", and it is tempting synthesise that interest with Australia's historical (or hysterical) xenophobia and obsession with race. One need look no further than earlier Australian censuses to see 'arbitrary sectarian breakdowns', to put a twist on this section's heading. Inclusion of the breakdown in the article would be highly questionable, requiring secondary sources, it is unacceptable to thrust it upon a reader as infobox content. The data presented in these garish oversimplifications is, at best, next to useless as encyclopaedic information. The 'ethnic' section of this infobox, in a featured article, is effectively operating as a POV and OR fork and should be removed.

It should be obvious to anyone that dividng one type of figure (responses) by another (persons) to come up with a third type (percentage) is completely wrong when the source document says that the two don't correlate. In order to determine the percentages you need to be using the same data, which I am. As I already explained above, "There is no explanation in the source of how the figures in rows 52 and 90 were determined, only an explanation of why they do not correspond the the numbers of responses". The figures for persons have come from somewehere else, even though they are included in the source used. It is not possible to arrive at the figures presented for persons using the data contained in the source. This is not the case when determining percentages based on responses. Again, as I've already stated above, "The figures are derived by simple mathematics, directly from the source data. Anyone, well almost anyone it seems, can verify the results". WP:SYNTH does not apply because only one source is being used for the calculations, which you can confirm yourself, unless you have absolutely no idea where Europe and Asia are. If that's the case you can always follow the links that are provided. --AussieLegend (talk) 09:43, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
AussieLegend, it might seem sensible at first to divide responses by total responses. However, it is complete nonsense to put percentages derived this way in the infobox. These percentages are the percentages of responses in each category, but a normal reading of the infobox would suggest that it is giving percentages of people identifying with each ethnicity. It is not possible to do this, since while the ABS has made sure people are only counted once in each of their categories, there are sure to be quite a few counted twice in the supercategories listed in the infobox. Summarising data should not be covered by WP:SYNTH, but any suggestion that this sort of summary of these response figures give percentages of various ethnicities is simply wrong. JPD (talk) 11:38, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
If the ABS has counted each person once in each of the categories, and the sum of the categories in which each person is counted once is the total of each supercategory, how can each person be counted more than once in the supercategory but not in the individual categories? That's like saying 1+1+1+1+1=6. I know what you're getting at but the error that may exist is so low as to be inconsequential. The figures are really a guide anyway, since they are based on data that is now 2.5 years old. Census data is only accurate on the day of the census. I can't see why people are getting their knickers in such a twist. According to Australia's population clock, we have 1,871,101 more people in the country, a 9.4% increase, and we have no idea what ethnicity they are. There's bound to be a big dent in the figures that anyone here could calculate. As I said, it's just a guide. --AussieLegend (talk) 12:35, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, supercategories are a problem - there is no way to tell how many distinct people identified ancestry somewhere in Europe. The data you are using is not suited for the use to which you're trying to put it, and in attempting to pound a round peg into a square hole you're engaging in OR. --GenericBob (talk) 14:49, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
You're under a misapprehension. The fact that there isn't a one-to-one match between 'responses' and 'persons' does not mean we can't meaningfully divide them. Let's try a simpler example: I ask Bob and Jane to pick up to two words that describe their cars. Bob picks "red" and "Ford"; Jane picks "red" and "Holden". Two people, four responses (two "red", one "Ford", one "Holden"). So how would we represent this in the Bob and Jane's Cars Infobox?
Under your approach - dividing responses by total responses - we would represent this as "50% red, 25% Ford, 25% Holden". Under mine, it would be "100% red, 50% Holden, 50% Ford" - which is a rather more accurate representation of the situation. There is no problem with dividing a count of responses by the count of persons when what you're looking for is the proportion of persons who gave a particular response.
And yes, my approach most certainly is OR. I believe it's a higher quality of OR - I have a fair bit of professional familiarity with this sort of work - but it certainly doesn't belong in article space. Nor does yours. The mathematical side of the analysis is OR, because of this issue of interpretation, and conflating 'ancestry' with 'ethnic group' is also OR. --GenericBob (talk) 11:58, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Under your approach the breakdowns total 127.98%. Put that in the infobox and see what reaction you get.--AussieLegend (talk) 12:35, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
This is only a problem if you believe these categories are mutually exclusive - in which case, you're in trouble, because the question used to collect them is specifically designed to allow for a person falling into more than one category. In any case, as I've already said above, I have no intention of putting them in the infobox. You seem to have decided that this infobox MUST be filled, and that one way or another the ABS 'ancestry' data is an appropriate source with which to achieve that; both of these are bad assumptions. --GenericBob (talk) 14:49, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
There's no analysis of the data involved. It's just a summary of the presented data in an easier to read format than:
    • Australian - 7,371,824
    • Australian Aboriginal - 115,280
    • American - 56,283
    • Chinese - 669,890
    • Croatian - 118,046
    • Dutch - 310,089
    • English - 6,283,650
    • Filipino - 160,374
    • French - 98,333
    • German - 811,540
    • Greek - 365,147
    • Hungarian - 67,628
    • Indian - 234,722
    • Irish - 1,803,741
    • Italian - 852,418
    • Lebanese - 181,745
    • Macedonian - 83,983
    • Maltese - 153,803
    • Maori - 92,912
    • New Zealander - 160,681
    • Polish - 163,802
    • Russian - 67,054
    • Scottish - 1,501,201
    • Serbian - 95,365
    • Sinhalese - 73,856
    • South African - 79,521
    • Spanish - 84,322
    • Turkish - 59,393
    • Vietnamese - 173,658
    • Welsh - 113,250
    • Other(c) - 1,397,647
    • Ancestry not stated - 1,609,443
    • Total Responses(d) - 25,410,601

which doesn't fit in an infobox too well. --AussieLegend (talk) 09:51, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

No, it doesn't. Neither would the explanation of how they arrived at those figures. 10:10, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  • In order to prove your claim that you have performed no synthesis from the data, could you please provide the row and column number where in the source it is explicitly stated that 51.05% of Australians are European. This is not visible in the excerpt which you quote above. AKAF (talk) 11:21, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree that trying to fit all that into an infobox would be a horrendous mess. The correct solution is not to violate WP:OR, but to leave that field empty until such time as an appropriate source can be found. --GenericBob (talk) 11:58, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
After checking the ABS site in search of a more appropriate source I believe we actually have one already. WP:OR has not been violated. There should be no problem. --AussieLegend (talk) 12:41, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Please provide the row and column number where in the source it is explicitly stated that 51.05% of Australians are European. This is not visible in the excerpt which you quote above. Doing this will demonstrate that your synthesis is not WP:OR. AKAF (talk) 10:06, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
How many times does this question have to be answered before you stop acting like a broken record? The data presented is simply a summary from a single, cited source, directly converted to a percentage for ease of comparison so WP:OR doesn't apply. --AussieLegend (talk) 11:45, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
No, it's not 'directly' converted to a percentage - before making that conversion you've converted the data into supercategories e.g. 'European'. Given the multi-response nature of the data, the assumption that it is valid to sum individual categories to get a meaningful supercategory is not a trivial one, which makes it OR. Choosing between dividing by number of responses or number of persons is an analytical decision, and that makes it OR. Interpreting 'ancestry' as equivalent to 'ethnic group' - also OR.
Since this is chewing up a lot of space on the Talk page and it doesn't look like we're getting any closer to agreement, I'm going to put this up for RFC. --GenericBob (talk) 13:47, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Stating thst it's "not 'directly' converted" is being extremely pedantic. The numbers are just being added based on continental location for ease of display. --AussieLegend (talk) 13:57, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Second arbitrary section break

Since you haven't answered any of my questions, I'll just ask them again.

AussieLegend, what is your definition of European? More importantly, why should we go by your definition? Does 'European' include Turks? Why/why not? Aren't some Turks 'from' Asia? But how can one know which Turks are 'European' and which 'Asian' based on the data? Why 'European'? Why not Eurasian, or for that matter, Afro-Eurasian? Why not western/northern/eastern/southern European? 3. The cited data shows responses to the question "What is your ancestry?". The data does not mention "ethnicity". 4. Where did you get the data for 'European' anyway? Did you lump all of the 'European' respondents together? You do realize that one can select two ancestries on the census, right? This would mean that the data overlaps, so they can't be tallied together.

1. "Anglo-Australian assimilationist ethnic nationalists" - Did you get that from a buzzphrase generator?

Anglo - Of or relating to England or Britain. Australian - Of or relating to Australia. Therefore, an Anglo-Australian is an Australian of British/English ancestry. Assimilationist - a proponent of assimilation. Ethnic nationalism - an ideology where the nation is defined by ethnicity.

As for being white, what does that have to do anything?

Oh come on, "whiteness" is one of the main factors of European ethnic identity.

I think you completely misunderstand the concept of original research, a policy that states, "Wikipedia does not publish original research or original thought. This includes unpublished facts, arguments, speculation, and ideas; and any unpublished analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position." Claiming that somebody from Europe is European is none of those things. Quite simply, since you seem to be having trouble with this, somebody from the continent of Europe is European. It's a well known, uncontroversial fact. It's somewhat ironic that you've asked what definitions I've used since there are wikilinks to the appropriate articles right next to the figures presented. I've just confirmed them for your benefit. I really don't see why you should have an issue with this.

Did you include Turks or not? Don't sidestep the question. It IS original research to claim that 50% of Australians are part of a European ethnic group, as no source claims that. These people are not 'from Europe', many of the people who identified with a European ancestry on the census have Australian ancestors going back to the early 1900s or even to the 1800s (I know this for a fact, as I know many of these people).

The information in the source document has been summarised into European, Asian etc because, as I've already stated, the infobox is a summary of what's in the article. Detailed lists shouldn't be included. When we did include more detail, there was an issue with people who couldn't understand that there are more Germans in Australia than Greeks now.

Well, the way the data is presented now is even more confusing except to Anglo-Celtic supremacists.

I suggest that you click on the "ANCESTRY" link in the source. If you do, you'll see that the ABS believes that "a person’s ancestry, when used in conjunction with the person’s country of birth and whether the person’s parents were born in Australia or overseas, provides a good indication of the ethnic background of first and second generation Australians".

Giving a strong indication of their ethnic background does not DETERMINE their ethnic background.

4. You are clearly missing the point. The first and last columns are all that are relevant. The first column identifies the respondent's ethnicity, the last identifies the number of respondents who identify with that ethnicity. Where the respondent's parents were born is not important. What is important is the ethnic group with which the respondents identify.

Yes, and none of them identify as European (well, 9,000 do). You obviously just lumped overlapping categories together.

::5. Because this is an article about Australia, so Australian seems the most relevant ethnicity. The source document does the same. If this was an article about India, I'd put Indian first. It's not rocket science.

Not many Indians would identify as ethnic Indians on their census. Of course, the Indian census only has caste and tribal identification but if it did have ethnic identification "Indian" would be as rare as those Yugoslavs who identified their nationality (the term used in Yugoslavia for ethnicity at the time) as"Yugoslav". So, maybe 2% of the population. Anyway, it has to be either in order of immigration to Australia (in which case Aborigines would be first) or in order of size (in which case Europeans would be first) otherwise it's just confusing (and you seem to dislike a previous table that confused people who were unaware of the fact that there was major German immigration here in the early 1900s).Saimdusan Talk|Contribs 10:48, 10 April 2009 (UTC)


"Since you haven't answered any of my questions" - Clearly, you haven't been reading my responses because I have answered your questions.
"what is your definition of European" - responded to here, 32 minutes after you asked.
"Does 'European' include Turks? Why/why not? Aren't some Turks 'from' Asia?" (etc) - There was really no need to respond to this since you answered your own question. Obviously, since it's not possible to determine which Turks were from Asia and which were from Europe, they've naturally been included with "others". You could have answered this with a calculator.
"Why not Eurasian, or for that matter, Afro-Eurasian? Why not western/northern/eastern/southern European?" - Also responded to here, as well as several other places before and after you asked the question. The information provided is a s-u-m-m-a-r-y. If I was to include terms like Eurasian, Afro-Eurasian or Anglo-Australian assimilationist ethnic nationalists, I might as well have left the data as was presented, which is not appropriate for an infobox. The continental boundaries provide a far more simple method of grouping people which is appropriate for an infobox where everything is summarised.
"The cited data shows responses to the question "What is your ancestry?". The data does not mention "ethnicity"." - responded to here, 75 minutes after you asked the question.
"Where did you get the data for 'European' anyway?" - See response to "what is your definition of European"
"You do realize that one can select two ancestries on the census, right?" - responded to here, 75 minutes after you asked the question.
Responses to new statements & questions
"Anglo - Of or relating to England or Britain." (etc) - So you created the term yourself.
"Oh come on, "whiteness" is one of the main factors of European ethnic identity." - [citation needed]. That's a rather racist attitude to take. Surely the main, and really the only factor, is location, hence the name.
"Did you include Turks or not?" - This is a question that you shouldn't need to ask. If I had included 56,000 turks the percentages would have been different, something easily verified with a basic calculator.
"It IS original research to claim that 50% of Australians are part of a European ethnic group, as no source claims that." - The cited source document provided exact figures for each of the ethnicities chosen by respondents. The percentage is a summary of data extracted straight from that data. It's not OR.
"many of the people who identified with a European ancestry on the census have Australian ancestors going back to the early 1900s or even to the 1800s " - [citation needed]
"I know this for a fact, as I know many of these people" - Now that is classic WP:OR. It's specifically mentioned in the policy, under "Citing oneself". How many of these almost 13 million people do you know and can you provide a citation from a reliable source to confirm your claim. Don't sidestep this. I want proof.
"Well, the way the data is presented now is even more confusing except to Anglo-Celtic supremacists." - More racist statements. It'd be quite ridiculous if it wasn't for the racist tone.
"Giving a strong indication of their ethnic background does not DETERMINE their ethnic background." - Why not?
"Yes, and none of them identify as European (well, 9,000 do)." - You keep stating this figure of 9,000 but so far you've failed to cite the source other than by vague statements such as "I've looked at the data" and "I got the 9,000 figure from the data itself". When are you going to provide a source for this mythical data?
"You obviously just lumped overlapping categories together" - No, I didn't obviously do that. Each identified ethnicity has been included only once.
"Not many Indians would identify as ethnic Indians on their census." - [citation needed] The fact is, you don't know how anyone other than you identified.
"...as rare as those Yugoslavs who identified their nationality" - Hardly relevant as Yugoslav isn't mentioned in the source data.
"Anyway, it has to be either in order of immigration to Australia " - Why? This is an article about Australia so it makes more sense to first identify those who consider themselves Australian since that is what the other ethnicities will be compared against in the first place.
"you seem to dislike a previous table that confused people who were unaware of the fact that there was major German immigration here in the early 1900s" - Perhaps you should do a little more research before commenting. What actually happened was that somebody changed the order of ethnicities.[14] Somebody else too exception to that.[15] The someone else changed Greek to German.[16] I thought that was strange, considering that Greek has always been a significant ethnicity in Australia, but, not being one to act on gut instinct, unlike some,[17] I decided to do some research. Finding the existing citation woefully inaccurate and out of date, found a better reference and updated the article accordingly,[18], listing the top 5 ethnic groups. Over subsequent weeks, "Greek" kept being added back in.[19] I reverted the first one, suggesting we keep it to the top 5 groups,[20] but Greek kept being re-added. I eventually asked myself if it was OK for the top 5 European ethnicities, why isn't it OK for the 6th, 7th etc and why shouldn't the same be the case for Asian, or any ethnicities. Unfortunately, this would blow out the size of the infobox, which is undesirable so I decided the best and fairest option would be to remove the top 5 European ethnicities altogether. Guess what? It worked. It had nothing to do with Germans and skin colour certainly didn't come into it. Sorry to disappoint you. --AussieLegend (talk) 13:54, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Oh yes, a simple calculation of percentages. Now I believe you. AKAF (talk) 14:42, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
As you should. (a+b+c+d+e+f+g+h+i+j+k)/l isn't that hard to do, even on a calculator. A primary school kid should have no problems. --AussieLegend (talk) 14:50, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Fine, then perhaps you will reference your source for considering Russians to be European, but Turks not to be. You appear to resist all efforts to explain that what you have done is distill a complex synthesis based on data of dubious value into a single number. Look, original research is a problem, because it defeats the purpose of correct referencing. You need to quote only exactly what your secondary sources say. If you can find a secondary source which analysis your primary source to say what you want then you're golden. Just quote the secondary source. As it is, you are being the secondary source by quoting something which is not exactly stated in the primary source. You can see this just by noting how many ways there are of calculating that percentage in the thread above. You need to just deal with the fact that the source doesn't say what you want and move on. AKAF (talk) 18:11, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
"perhaps you will reference your source for considering Russians to be European" - I'm happy to concede that Russians being included in European is an error. Thanks for picking it up. I've now fixed the error. It made a 0.26% error, although if I'd stuck to single digit accuracy as was suggested it would only be 0.2%. Funny how nobody picked it up considering I posted that almost 10 days ago.
"You need to quote only exactly what your secondary sources say." - If it was in the prose of an article I'd almost agree with you but we can't be exact in the infobox because it takes up far too much space, which is why a summary in an easy to read format is used. The reason I'd only almost agree with you is that we can't quote exactly what a source says. We're forced not to in order to avoid copyright violations. The summary is simply the same data presented in a different format. You need to deal with that. --AussieLegend (talk) 19:30, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
"Funny how nobody picked it up considering I posted that almost 10 days ago" - not really. Wikipedia editors are not here to check the details of your analysis - if it's complex enough to have a significant risk of error (which apparently it is) then it shouldn't be here at all.
In a lot of cases, copyright would require us to paraphrase sources, but this isn't one of them, because ABS content is published under the CC-BY license. So this is a non-issue (see WP:CFAQ).
The fact that the source can't be fit into the infobox without a great deal of shoehorning isn't an argument for doing that shoehorning, it's a sign that the source is not an appropriate way to fill the infobox. --GenericBob (talk) 00:38, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
"Wikipedia editors are not here to check the details of your analysis " - That's not a convincing argument because that's exactly what people, including you, have been doing, at least until it comes to responding to what I've written here.
"if it's complex enough to have a significant risk of error (which apparently it is)" - No it isn't apparent because the error was exceptionally minor (0.2%).
"The fact that the source can't be fit into the infobox without a great deal of shoehorning isn't an argument for doing that shoehorning, it's a sign that the source is not an appropriate way to fill the infobox" - Again, not a convincing argument. As you should well know, and not only because I've mentioned it several times, infoboxes are only summaries. There's very little source information that fits in an infobox without being summarised down to only a few words.
Yup, I've heard you say it repeatedly - and if it was an accurate summary that stuck to things that could be verified from the source, I wouldn't object. It's not, and lack of space is not a good enough reason for an inaccurate summary. --GenericBob (talk) 14:26, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Note also that the presentation of the data indicates a precision of 0.01%; in that context, an error of 0.2% is not minor. FWIW, this false precision is also a problem with the analysis. The ABS makes it clear that there are all sorts of reasons why the counts published are unlikely to be exact - e.g. nonresponse, problems in coding answers, etc etc - and it's generally up to the secondary source to estimate how badly those impact on derived data. This sort of issue is one of the reasons why WP:RS warns about primary sources. --GenericBob (talk) 22:18, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

So you created the term yourself.

The term "Anglo"? Surely you've heard this term before!

Why not?

Read your own bloody source. It does not say "it determines their ethnicity". It says it gives a "GOOD INDICATION".

The fact is, you don't know how anyone other than you identified.

Um... I'm talking about the Indian census at the moment. Indians would definitely identify as Indians in the Australian census. In India however,each group is heavily divided. No, I'm not suggesting to put this into the article so it doesn't need a citation. I don't think it makes sense for you to deny such the obvious fact of India's diversity.

Hardly relevant as Yugoslav isn't mentioned in the source data.

This time, I was talking about the Yugoslav census. Remember,the article about India? I'm saying that people that identified their ethnicity as "Indian" would be a small minority, and definitely shouldn't go on the top (whatever the plurality group is, probably Bengalis as Bengali is the largest Indian language other than Hindi). You're the one that used the example of the India page, so I don't see how it's "hardly relevant".

I'm happy to concede that Russians being included in European is an error.

What about Greeks? There are Greeks native to Asia, you know. Ever heard of Greek Cypriots and Pontic Greeks?

That's a rather racist attitude to take. Surely the main, and really the only factor, is location, hence the name.

How is that racist? It's like saying that Afro-diasporic people don't have a concept of 'blackness', or that Islam isn't the largest religion of the Punjabi people. It's simply an observation about the IDENTITY of 'indigenous' Europeans and the European diaspora when they (well, we) distinguish ourselves from groups that tend to be darker-skinned and European mongrels such as myself.

One of the most important things with your data is that the numbers for 'Europeans' and 'Asians' CAN'T be added together as hundreds of thousands of Australians identified with more than one ancestry on the census.

I'm still having trouble seeing where you got your definitions from, either. If you define Asian as 'people from Asia', then we're fine, but this is about ethnic groups. Turks and Lebanese are definitely not seen as 'ethnic Asians' in Australia, as with the US 'Asian' refers to East and Southeast Asians. Similarly, Turks and Lebanese are generally not seen as 'Whites' (essentially meaning fair-skinned Europeans in this country, which is why it IS a factor of European ethnic identity) either. In fact, Greeks and Italians are only 'sometimes' seen as Whites, often being distinguished from the 'Aussies' (really, Anglo-Celtic people) as being 'Wogs'. None of this is mentioned in your source, nor does it say 'Asian', 'European' or anything else even ONCE. Saimdusan Talk|Contribs 00:22, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

"The term "Anglo"? Surely you've heard this term before!" - Of course I've heard of anglo before. As you well know, the term at issue was "Anglo-Australian assimilationist ethnic nationalists". You're just being silly with responses like that.
"It says it gives a "GOOD INDICATION"." - So, what's wrong with that? The people who responded identified the ethnic group they most identify with.
"Um... I'm talking about the Indian census at the moment." - Um... Why? The Indian census has absolutely no relevance to this issue.
"This time, I was talking about the Yugoslav census." - Again, why? How is this relevant to this or the Indian article?
"You're the one that used the example of the India page, so I don't see how it's "hardly relevant"." - I raised the Indian page only in response to your question regarding why Australian was at the top of the list. OK let's forget India. Blow it off the map. Use New Zealand instead. (Finally, a use for New Zealand!)
"What about Greeks? There are Greeks native to Asia, you know. Ever heard of Greek Cypriots and Pontic Greeks?" - We can't make assumptions that this or that response refers to Greek Cypriots, Pontic Greeks, Babylonian Italians or Martian New Zealanders. If a response says Greek then it's in the Greek box and Greece is a European country. To make any assumptions otherwise is original research. Look at the responses for "Australian Aboriginal". 1,455 responses claim that bothe parents were born overseas. How many Aboriginals have both parents born overseas? To assume that these people aren't really Aboriginal is original research. We have to include them in the Australian Aboriginal group whether we agree with it or not.
"How is that racist? It's like saying that Afro-diasporic people don't have a concept of 'blackness'," - They might have a concept of blackness but blackness isn't an an indicator that they're Afro-disaporic any more than whiteness is an indicator that somebody is European. There are plenty of Europeans of all colours.
"One of the most important things with your data is that the numbers for 'Europeans' and 'Asians' CAN'T be added together as hundreds of thousands of Australians identified with more than one ancestry on the census." - Again, this goes back to the Aboriginal example. If people identify with a particular group in the source data then we have to include them in that group or else you're resorting to original research.
"If you define Asian as 'people from Asia', then we're fine," - We're fine then.
" Turks and Lebanese are definitely not seen as 'ethnic Asians' in Australia," - As already indicated, Turks are included in others. So are Lebanes. It seems we agree.
"Similarly, Turks and Lebanese are generally not seen as 'Whites' (essentially meaning fair-skinned Europeans in this country, which is why it IS a factor of European ethnic identity)" - Again, I have to disagree with your fixation on skin colour. People from the US are generally white and they're not European. --AussieLegend (talk) 07:15, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

RfC: Is data in infobox 'ethnic groups' field adequately supported by source?



Summary: Original source[21] presents results of a Census question in which respondents were allowed to give up to two responses to the question "What is the person's ancestry?" Source gave (a) total number of responses for each of several fine-level categories (e.g. "Scottish", "Italian", and "Ancestry not stated"), (b) total responses (approx. 25 million), and (c) total persons (approx. 20 million - discrepancy due to people providing more than one response.)

Infobox on Australia uses this data in the 'ethnic groups' field. Categories have been converted to broader supercategories not explicitly named in the source (e.g. "European", "Asian") and data are expressed as percentages rather than totals. Percentages are calculated as the ratio of responses in relevant categories/supercategories to total responses.

Some points of contention are:

- Is it original research to represent data compiled and published on the basis of 'ancestry' as 'ethnic groups'?

- Is it OR to categorise individual countries into broader entities? (e.g. deciding whether to count Turkey as part of 'Europe'?)

- Is generating totals for supercategories by summing fine-level categories a routine calculation, or does the complexity of the data (specifically, the potential for a single person to be counted in more than one fine-level category due to multiple responses) make this OR?

- Is converting totals to percentages a routine calculation, or does the complexity of the data (specifically, the question of whether to divide by total responses or total persons) make this OR?—Preceding unsigned comment added by GenericBob (talkcontribs)


I suggest that you read the "Quality Statement - Ancestry" section of this ABS article (linked to from within the source document), which states "The ancestry data collected in the Census is a measure of self-identification of ethnic or cultural group affiliation and therefore provides a broad measure of cultural diversity."" There's the link to ethnicity.
Another interesting statement is "Scottish ancestry (in terms of responses for both ANC1P and ANC2P) has risen from 2.4% of persons in 2001 to 5.9% of persons in 2006"." It's interesting because if you divide the number of responses reporting Scottish ancestry by the number of total responses (534,882/22,568,471 and 1,501,201/25,410,601 for 2001 and 2006 respectively) you arrive at the results of 2.4% and 5.9%, the figures quoted in the ABS document. On the other hand, if you divide by total persons, as GenericBob would have us do, the percentages arrived at are 2.9% and 7.6%, which are significantly different to the figures quoted by the ABS. The method used to arrive at the figures in the infobox is the same used by the ABS, i.e. responses divided by total responses. --AussieLegend (talk) 15:16, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Regarding the issue of counting Turkey as part of Europe, this was not done so I don't see why it is a point of contention. As I have indicated, and as can be confirmed by converting the percentages back to raw data, Turkey has been included in "Others" as the Turkish responses can not be reasonably included in either Europe or Asia without making assumptions. --AussieLegend (talk) 15:24, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
It is important for wikipedians to understand proper academic citation and the value of excluding material which is nice for the narrative developed for the reader, but which is mightily truthy. If you reference something from a source, you can't analyse the data from the source to get your result. You can look at a secondary source which does that analysis, but wikipedia is not about original analysis, or WP:OR in the local jargon. It is pretty obvious from the comment above that analysis is happening. I find it unlikely that any of the participants on this page are qualified demographers, and if so, it wouldn't matter, since there are other places for demographers to publish their original research. AKAF (talk) 18:25, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
You are being ridiculous in claiming that analysis is being done. The only "analysis" being done is to group ethnicities by continent, which requires absolutely no analysis. Is England in Europe? Is Germany in Europe? Is Japan in Asia? Is Vietnam in Asia? These are the only questions being asked and the answers require no analysis. --AussieLegend (talk) 19:03, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
So, is Russia in Europe? The fact that you had to reconsider this issue should be a pretty strong clue that this is nontrivial analysis.
I agree that the quality statement certainly supports the idea that ethnic group affiliation is related to ancestry data, I believe it's OR to carry this to the point of treating them as the same thing - note that "ethnic or cultural group" in there. As I noted earlier, the ABS documentation says that ancestry is a "good indication" of ethnic background of first and second generation Australians, when used in conjunction with the person's country of birth.
Do you believe the data we're discussing here pertains only to first- and second-generation Australians? Do you believe that it's being used in conjunction with the person's country of birth? (Hint: country of birth is a separate data item, collected in a different question, and none of the data from that question is included in the source document you're citing.)
Scots issue - I'm going to delay my answer to that until after the public holiday, since it will require giving somebody a phone callcontacting someone during business hours. --GenericBob (talk) 23:37, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
OK, I've discussed this issue with a staff member in the ABS' Census Products & Services section, noting that the verbal description of the Scots figures ("x% of persons") is inconsistent with the data (apparently calculated as a percentage of responses). Her response was that "it would be far more sensible to calculate based on persons rather than responses", and after checking with those responsible for the quality statement, it will be amended from this:

"Scottish ancestry (in terms of responses for both ANC1P and ANC2P) has risen from 2.4% of persons in 2001 to 5.9% of persons in 2006 and this may be partly due to its inclusion in the list of check box responses..."

to this:

"Scottish ancestry (in terms of responses for both ANC1P and ANC2P) has risen from 2.9% of persons (2.4% of all responses) in 2001 to 7.6% of persons (5.9% of all responses) in 2006. This may be partly due to its inclusion in the list of check box responses..."

Not sure how long it will take to get a corrected version on the website, but in the meantime, if you're not content to take an anonymous Wikipedia editor's word for it ;-) you can verify this by contacting the ABS. Alternately, while I'd rather not give out my real name here, I'd be happy to provide a copy of the email exchange to one of the Aussie admins. Edit 20/4/09: This correction has now appeared on the ABS website, worded as above.
Note that this quality statement was never presented as a statement on how percentages should be calculated - the purpose of this section was to explain a different issue (i.e. the fact that adding a checkbox for 'Scottish' had greatly increased the number of such responses - something that's apparent regardless of whether you divide by total responses or persons). This is probably how the error managed to slip through, and it's a reminder of why we should stick to things that are explicitly stated in the source rather than attempting to extrapolate from sources that weren't written - or checked - with that particular extrapolation in mind. --GenericBob (talk) 05:13, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Note - since it makes more sense to respond to the following paragraph by paragraph, I've broken up AussieLegend's comments and added his signature to each paragraph to keep attribution clear. If this is a problem, please feel free to restore the original structure and move my responses to a single section at the bottom. --GenericBob (talk) 07:33, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

"The fact that you had to reconsider this issue" - I didn't reconsider anything. A mistake was identified and I immediately corrected it because I had obviously just placed Russia in the wrong pile. All the calculations were done on a spreadsheet so it's an easy thing to do. I note that you never challenged it so, using your logic, you must have agreed that Russia is in Europe.
"Do you believe the data we're discussing here pertains only to first- and second-generation Australians?" - The source doesn't just identify 1st and 2nd generation Australians. It deals with every Australian.
"if you're not content to take an anonymous Wikipedia editor's word for it" - Not just me, it's policy. We're not reliable sources so what you or I say means nothing unless we can back it up with a citation from a reliable source. I've cited a reliable source showing that I used the same methodology as the ABS to calculate the percentages.
"Note that this quality statement was never presented as a statement on how percentages should be calculated " - However, it does identify the methodology used by the ABS which is extremely relevant. It was clear from the Census dictionary statement that the ABS determined percentages by dividing responses by responses. In order to summarise the data supplied by the ABS it's necessary to use the same methodology in order to come up with the same figures. To not do so, eg dividing responses by persons, is original research. If the ABS do change the census dictionary then the methodology will have to change because then, and only then, will dividing responses by responses become OR. Until that time, divividing by responses is appropriate, dividing by persons is OR. --AussieLegend (talk) 05:54, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
OK, the ABS have now corrected the page, making the changes that I indicated last week - are we all now agreed that choosing 'total responses' as the appropriate measure is OR? --GenericBob (talk) 04:41, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Supercategories

AL: "The fact that you had to reconsider this issue" - I didn't reconsider anything. A mistake was identified and I immediately corrected it because I had obviously just placed Russia in the wrong pile. All the calculations were done on a spreadsheet so it's an easy thing to do. I note that you never challenged it so, using your logic, you must have agreed that Russia is in Europe.
Er, no. I make no statement either way on whether Russian (or Turkish) ancestry counts as 'European'. Those are knotty questions, and I believe any such assessment would be OR; whether Russians and Turks are 'European' depends on the individuals and on definitions used. Silence does not imply agreement, it only implies that I have a finite amount of time to spend here. Checking the details of your calculations - when my point is that those calculations don't belong here in the first place - would not be a good use of my time. --GenericBob (talk) 07:33, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
AussieLegend, the question is not whether Turkey and Russia are part of Europe or not. The field says "ethnic groups" not "inhabitants of continents". Nowhere in your source does it say that the Turkish, Russian, Greek or even English ancestry groups are part of a European ethnic group. Saimdusan Talk|Contribs 21:07, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Equation of 'ancestry' and 'ethnic group'

AL: "Do you believe the data we're discussing here pertains only to first- and second-generation Australians?" - The source doesn't just identify 1st and 2nd generation Australians. It deals with every Australian.
Agreed. So do you acknowledge that we can't justify equating 'ancestry' to 'ethnic group' by relying on a source which only draws a connection between the two in the context of first and second generation Australians and when used in conjunction with the person's country of birth? --GenericBob (talk) 07:33, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Amendment to source material

AL:"if you're not content to take an anonymous Wikipedia editor's word for it" - Not just me, it's policy. We're not reliable sources so what you or I say means nothing unless we can back it up with a citation from a reliable source. I've cited a reliable source showing that I used the same methodology as the ABS to calculate the percentages.
You have misunderstood WP:RS - the sourcing standards given there are a necessary criterion for inclusion, not a sufficient one. It states that content included in Wikipedia should be supported by 'reliable sources', as defined therein; it does not state that everything found in such sources should be used. (That would be an 'infallible source', and at that point we're arguing religion, not demography.)
In this case, you have cited a 'reliable source' that (when taken along with the included figures) contradicts itself. The wording currently says that the figure given is a percentage "of persons", while we can deduce from the figures that it was calculated as a percentage of total responses. The fact that it contradicts itself makes it pretty clear that one of those two things is in error - either 'persons' was the correct method and the calculation was mistakenly done on total responses, or 'total responses' was the correct method and the documentation is using the wrong terminology.
It should be abundantly clear that a source that contradicts itself on a specific issue is not reliable on that particular issue, no matter how well it satisfies the letter of WP:RS. That on its own, without any clarification from ABS, is a pretty good reason not to use it for Wikipedia content. The fact that several other editors have argued against your approach should be another good reason to realise that what you're doing is nontrivial interpretation - and hence OR. If you're determined to keep arguing the point until that clarification comes out, you'll have a third good reason - but the longer you keep digging, the longer it takes to climb out afterwards. --GenericBob (talk) 07:33, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Scope of source material

AL:"Note that this quality statement was never presented as a statement on how percentages should be calculated " - However, it does identify the methodology used by the ABS which is extremely relevant. It was clear from the Census dictionary statement that the ABS determined percentages by dividing responses by responses. In order to summarise the data supplied by the ABS it's necessary to use the same methodology in order to come up with the same figures. To not do so, eg dividing responses by persons, is original research. If the ABS do change the census dictionary then the methodology will have to change because then, and only then, will dividing responses by responses become OR. Until that time, divividing by responses is appropriate, dividing by persons is OR.
It was also clear from the Census dictionary statement that the ABS felt it was appropriate to discuss percentages 'of persons' (and I think we are agreed that, whatever they might be, the percentages currently on Australia are not percentages of persons?) I have said this several times already, but apparently I need to repeat it once more: I am not arguing for the infobox to include figures calculated by dividing by persons - even when the ABS quality statement is corrected, that would still be OR because of the other issues mentioned above (namely, equation of 'ancestry' to 'ethnic group' and formation of supercategories). I am arguing that the ABS source we're discussing cannot be used to fill this data field without committing OR. The only reason I'm mentioning alternate (and better) ways to analyse that data is to underline the fact that the sort of demography you're doing here is not as straightforward as you believe. --GenericBob (talk) 07:33, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
I'd like to take a moment and point out that it's considered poor form to respond the way you have,[22] despite the explanation. I'm assured that responding as I did here, quoting the protions of the respective comments that you wish to reply to, is preferred. Editing others comments is frown upon in general[23] and, even though you have given permission, it really shouldn't be up to me to re-edit your comments so that they're in the appropriate form. --AussieLegend (talk) 07:56, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
It's not universally verboten; for instance, as mentioned in the last of your links there, "In some cases, it is OK to interrupt a long contribution, either with a short comment (as a reply to a minor point) or with a heading (if the contribution introduces a new topic)." I felt this was a long contribution that could usefully be divided into subtopics without taking you out of context (and IMHO this discussion is painfully long already), but per your request I've re-edited to restore your original comment in full.
By the same token, perhaps you could refrain from snide edit summaries[24][25][26] in future? --GenericBob (talk) 08:50, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
(offtopic, but...) GenericBob, often people do replies as you were thinking about above, by quoting parts of the text of the other person in italics. This gets around the problem of editing other people's comments. I personally find AussieLegend's method of quoting to be confusing and counterproductive because he takes too little of the original text and so I end up spending half my time trying to decide who wrote what. I personally prefer to either quote a larger portion, or to quote nothing at all. Personal preferences vary greatly across the project. AKAF (talk) 09:16, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
You don't need to quiote everything the person has said, just the important points. Quoting everything just makes the discussion ridiculously long, as does creating numerous Level 2 headings for each point of a reply. --AussieLegend (talk) 09:38, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Yep, I set the header levels wrong. Should be fixed now. --GenericBob (talk) 14:20, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
I never disagreed with that. I just noted that I find your style of quoting hard to read.AKAF (talk) 10:26, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
The point is, you didn't divide into sub-topics. You just broke apart a response by one editor. You haven't even divided into sub-topics now. You've broken out into individual main topics which makes it even more confusing to follow. As for the snide comments:
[18] - The same editor continued to ask the same question multiple times, even though answers to the question had been given multiple times. The edit summary wasn't snide, it was a summary of what I'd expressed in the edit.
[19] - Not snide, it was an attempt at some humour, based on what the editor had said and the way he had presented himself. You really need to be far less serious and try to laugh occasionally.
[20] - It was you who tried to introduce a different methodology for calculating percentages to that used by the ABS, creating confusion and trying to introduce original research while criticising me for doing the same thing, when all I'd done was summarised presented figures from the source using the same methodology used by the author of the source. If you're going to be critical of somebody, be critical of yourself, both for that and for not acknowledging, after I showed it to be the case, that your methodology was not the same. The edit summary expresses exactly what had happened. Your maths was bad. --AussieLegend (talk) 09:38, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
"trying to introduce original research"... nope. The only content change I have ever advocated to this section is removing the material currently in this part of the infobox. I have certainly argued that there is a better approach than the one you took, but as I've explained several times already - I'm sure other editors are getting tired of hearing me say this - I am not arguing that that better approach should be used to populate the infobox. I mention it to illustrate that this is not a trivial issue, and in deciding to go with one half of a self-contradicting source rather than the other half you are performing OR.
I have never contested the claim that the "2.4%" figure was derived by the 'total responses' method - while there is nothing on the ABS website (currently) to confirm it, I'd guess you're correct in concluding that that was the method used. What I do contest is your assumption that an undocumented method (contradicted by the documentation, at that) that could only be determined by reverse-engineering a calculation used only to discuss the effects of a particular checkbox on the form should be treated as the ABS' prescription for how figures should be calculated in another context. Doesn't that seem even a teensy weensy bit like OR?
Sometimes even the ABS website has errors. In this case, you've been unfortunate enough to latch onto the error first instead of the correct approach described in the same page - which is the sort of thing that happens to all of us once in a while. But when other editors point out that there are numerous problems with your method - and that the ABS website contradicts itself on this issue - and that you can very easily call the ABS to confirm that you're using the wrong method - trying to save face by accusing them of incompetence is an unwise tactic. As it happens, I work with this sort of stuff for a living (and I'd be happy to substantiate that to any admin willing to drop me an email address); while there are plenty of people around who can teach me things about demography, I've seen enough here to satisfy me that you're not one of them. --GenericBob (talk) 14:17, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) Actually you still haven't answered the question I asked multiple times, so I feel that your snook is unreasonably cocked. In a tertiary source, you can't go re-analysing the data from a primary source, so you have only two possibilities:

  1. Either: WP:OR is violated.
  2. Or: You can show where the source says exactly what you quote.

What we "source" in wikipedia are directly attributable data, which can be traced back to verbatim quoted from the source material. So show me the verbatim quote or remove the material as WP:OR. There is no third choice. AKAF (talk) 10:35, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Since we seem to be at an impasse, I'm sticking up a request for mediation. Further context on this dispute is in Talk:Australia#29_percent_of_people_in_Australia_Australian.3F above and Talk:Australia#Removal_of_Ethnic_Group below.

Removal of Ethnic Group

None of the groups in the "ethnic group" category are actually ethnic groups. Most of them are geographic designations...and the term "Australian" is a heritage term at best.

Intranetusa (talk) 04:41, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

You're going to need to do a lot better than that to justify removal. As has been explained above, the information in the infobox is a summary of ethnicities based on geographic origin. Summaries are used because information in the infobox needs to be brief. The CIA Fact Book, which is widely accepted as a reliable source, identifies Australian, Asians and Europeans in its list of ethnic groups.[27] Notable, reliable sources such as Encyclopædia Britannica interchange the terms "ancestry" and "ethnicity", even within the same document.[28] --AussieLegend (talk) 09:14, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Removed again since the data is unsourced (see about half of this talk page). AKAF (talk) 09:35, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
The data is sourced. There's a citation attached, the methodology for summarising the data has been explained and proven and the question about ethnicities has been supported with references to two very reliable sources. There has been no consensus reached to remove this information. Ethic information has been in the article for a long lime so, until there is consensus to remove it then it shouldn't be removed again. --AussieLegend (talk) 10:28, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
But the citation is bullshit, as has been explained to you by a large number of people. However I'm at the point where you win this WP:GAME. Best of luck with it. AKAF (talk) 10:38, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
"The CIA Fact Book, which is widely accepted as a reliable source, identifies Australian, Asians and Europeans in its list of ethnic groups." No, it does NOT. The groups it lists are "white 92%, Asian 7%, aboriginal and other 1%". (Note that those percentages also conflict with the ones currently in the article that you're trying to defend - you've listed "5.17% Asian".)
"the methodology for summarising the data has been explained and proven" - assertion is not proof. I've repeatedly pointed out the fallacy of using 'ancestry' alone as 'ethnic group' when the source makes it clear that ancestry should be considered in combination with other information, and you've repeatedly ducked the issue. I've repeatedly pointed out that a source that contradicts itself on an issue (as the ABS page currently does on 'persons' vs 'total responses' method) cannot be considered reliable on that issue, and you've repeatedly ducked the issue. And so on and so on.
"until there is consensus to remove it then it shouldn't be removed again" - you might want to read WP:CCC, which specifically explains why this argument doesn't hold water. In any case, you seem to be the only person still arguing for inclusion of this material - and 'consensus' is not 'unanimity'.--GenericBob (talk) 12:17, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
"No, it does NOT" - Yes, it does SO. Look in the Ethnic Groups column for Norfolk Island where it says "descendants of the Bounty mutineers, Australian, New Zealander, Polynesian". You need to look at everything and not be so limited and selective in your focus. I'll let you find European on that page. I did. --AussieLegend (talk) 12:39, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, but to quote directly from that source [29] "Ethnic groups: white 92%, Asian 7%, aboriginal and other 1%". See, that's the difference between synthesis and proper citation, namely that I can directly quote the source, and it says what I want. Now do that for your source. Is there actually more than one person who believes that the current version is correct? AKAF (talk) 16:50, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
And based on the same page you've cited, the July 2009 (yes, 3 months from now) population estimate is 21,262,641. That's great except that, as of right now, the official Australian population clock[30] estimates the population to be 21,733,346, almost 471,000 more than the CIA's estimate. Based on the current net increase of 1 person every 90 seconds, which is what it has been for some time now, we should have around 21.8 million on 1 July, 542,000 more than the CIA estimate. Maybe the CIA knows something the ABS doesn't. Yes, that page may say what you want, but what it says is wrong. --AussieLegend (talk) 17:49, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Ding, ding, ding. Yes Alex I know the answer! What is a WP:PRIMARY source? AKAF (talk) 18:35, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Are you really going to argue that the CIA has a better idea of Australia's population than the ABS does? --AussieLegend (talk) 23:26, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
A bit more detail on population estimation, and I apologise for the length of this digression:
First off, there are several different ways to define the 'population' of Australia. Do you count foreign diplomatic staff? US military personnel passing through? Australian residents who are currently overseas? The answer depends on what you want to do with the data (or, sometimes, on what you can most consistently collect.)
Every five years, the ABS runs a census. This counts most of the people in Australia, with a few deliberate exclusions (e.g. foreign diplomatic staff, IIRC). A substantial number of people get missed for one reason or another, and a few people get counted two or even three times; the net result of this is that the Census undercounts people.
To counter this, shortly after the Census, the ABS runs a post-enumeration survey - they sample people, match them to Census responses, and use this to estimate things like overcount and undercount (for instance, when the PES finds people who weren't recorded on Census), as well as various other quality-control purposes.
Census doesn't record people who were overseas at the time, but we're interested in them, so the ABS estimates the number of Australian nationals who are out of the country, and adds them towards the population.
The result of this is that a year or two after the Census was run, the ABS has a pretty good idea of the resident population on Census night (most recent being mid-06).
What if you want to know the population for June 30, 2007? To get a high-quality estimate ('estimated resident population', or ERP), you want to look at net births, deaths, and migration since then. Ideally you would just count registrations of births, death, and migration, and adjust by the net total - but in practice, not all of this data is recorded in a timely fashion, so a bit more analysis is required, involving various assumptions and corrections. (This can be quite tricky - for instance, because people needed to register births to qualify for the 'baby bonus', there was a spike in birth registrations at that time.)
This process takes time, so again you can only get these estimates in hindsight, and they're adjusted as more data comes in - the estimates for June 2007 won't be finalised until some time around 2012 or 2013, when the data from the 2011 Census has been processed.
If you want to estimate the population in the future, you have to start with a recent good estimate (e.g. the latest ERP), and make some assumptions from there about what births, deaths, and migration might look like in the future. Since the ABS staff aren't magicians, they can't do that with anything approaching 100% accuracy, so they produce a large range of possible values for these variables. (As the ABS disclaimer on this data notes, "The projections are not predictions or forecasts, but are simply illustrations of the growth and change in population which would occur if certain assumptions about future levels of fertility, mortality, internal migration and overseas migration were to prevail over the projection period.") Combining possible choices for those assumptions gives a large number of scenarios (currently 72); of these, the ABS picks three based on mid-range, high-range, and low-range assumptions. In the ABS' words, "These are intended to illustrate a range of possible future outcomes, although there can be no certainty that any particular outcome will be realised, or that future outcomes will necessarily fall within these ranges."
If you want to estimate the population right now... you have to do the same thing, because data on today's births/deaths/migration won't be available for quite some time yet. That's how the 'population clock' figures work, using the assumptions made for Series B.
The result of all this is that the 'population clock' figures - like any other projections - are not guaranteed to be particularly accurate. To be blunt, the population clock is there to give the casual public something they can look at without having to read through a lengthy description of what we really know (or don't) about the Australian population. If you want high-quality figures for the past, you need to use the ERP figures. If you want high-quality figures for the present, or the future, you need to wait until it becomes the past... and then go to the ERP figures. (And if you need to make decisions about the future now, you'd better be good at dealing with data where even the degree of uncertainty is uncertain.)
When you combine that uncertainty with the question of how exactly you choose the scope for a population, a discrepancy of around 550k is not particularly remarkable. Maybe the CIA picked a different set of assumptions for projection purposes. Or their update schedule means they're working off an earlier ERP figure. Or the 'population' they're counting excludes some category of people who are included in the ABS projections (e.g. Australians who don't live in Australia, or non-citizens who do.) It doesn't mean the Factbook staff are incompetent, just that they made some different choices when dealing with difficult issues requiring a lot of professional judgement.
What would be a mistake is to attempt to combine the two sources, using one as a guide to how the other should be interpreted, because there's no guarantee that their working definitions are consistent with one another's, and neither source was designed to be compatible with the other. --GenericBob (talk) 00:31, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
To be honest, I didn't read all of the above because there's just too much waffle there. I did skim it and it's obvious that you've missed the point, again. The ABS is the agency that collects all of the census data and issues the reports on the data collection. Those reports are used by every government and most non-government agencies, as well as international agencies. You won't find international agencies doing their own census. They use the data, and usually that means the ABS reports, for information about Australia. One of the tools that the ABS provides is the population clock which is reasonably accurate, despite it just being a projection. You can see this when new data from a census is released. The ABS explains how it arrives at the population data, the CIA doesn't. My point was that the CIA projection is so significantly (a lot more than 0.2%) different to the official figures that it lacks credibility. --AussieLegend (talk) 00:52, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
"the population clock which is reasonably accurate" - what do you believe the margin of error on the population clock to be, and what is your basis for that belief? When the advertised accuracy of a figure is 0.01% and the discrepancy is 0.2%, that's highly significant; when the discrepancy is 500k and the source makes it clear that they don't know the margin of error, it's quite impossible to judge whether the discrepancy is meaningful.
"Those reports are used by every government and most non-government agencies, as well as international agencies. You won't find international agencies doing their own census" - However, as I explained above, Census figures are only the first step in quite a long chain of work to produce current population projections. In this case, as noted in the Factbook documentation, the CIA's figures begin with census data - undoubtedly sourced by the ABS - but after that, the ABS' US counterpart (Bureau of the Census) does its own projections - probably making a few different assumptions along the way. I'm sorry if the explanation is a bit dry, but if you want to understand why two figures might disagree, you need to know how those figures are calculated.
You've also ducked the issue of scope differences. The grey areas in defining who we count as the 'Australian population' amount to far more than 500,000 people, so even if by some miracle both ABS and BotC had perfect and current data for the entire world population, you can expect see discrepancies of this size depending on exactly who each organisation decided to count towards their totals. --GenericBob (talk) 01:39, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Okay. So your argument for using 'European' as an ethnic category for Australia, in data derived from an ABS source, requires going to a different source, disregarding the categorisation used for 'Australia', and instead seeking out the data for a small offshore territory - one with a unique history that makes different categorisations relevant - and then taking this classification scheme back to the ABS data for Australia. With no assurances that the CIA calculations used the same methodology (and in fact some pretty clear evidence that they didn't, in that discrepancy for 'Asian' figures). And the CIA Factbook is untrustworthy in how it categorises Australia's ethnic groups because "what it says is wrong" (based on your comparison of a different data item to a primary source on another site), but the page on Norfolk Island is trustworthy - not just as a representation of NI, a small island of about 2000 people far out to sea, but also when you extrapolate its approach to a country of twenty million people. Do you really not see this as WP:SYNTH?
Reading broadly is great. Digging through sources to find the slightest hooks to support your case - while ignoring more prominent and relevant bits in those same sources that oppose it - is not. If you're serious about putting properly-sourced data in this infobox without OR... well, why not just copy the "ethnic groups for Australia" data across directly from the CIA Factbook? We're agreed that it's a good quality secondary source, and it specifically refers to 'ethnic' groups - we don't have the 'ancestry' issue to deal with. That would be far better than rummaging through the Factbook to find a reference to a small sub-entity of Australia and then transplanting the categorisation scheme to another source's data - unless the point of the exercise is to defend your previous edits rather than considering whether they're actually appropriate. --GenericBob (talk) 21:02, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
For those who aren't familiar with Norfolk Island, it's an external territory of Australia - while nominally part of the country, it's mostly self-governing (which is presumably why it has its own separate entry in the Factbook). A lot of its inhabitants are descendants of the Bounty mutineers, and there's a significant social distinction between them and much more recent arrivals from Australia and NZ - which is probably why the Factbook has chosen to divide it into "descendants of the Bounty mutineers, Australian, New Zealander, Polynesian". For choosing categories for an article on Australia, it seems more reasonable to go to the entry for something more representative for Australia overall... like, say, 'Australia'. --GenericBob (talk) 21:12, 16 April 2009 (UTC)


@AussieLegend, 1. the CIA world factbook doesn't list "Australian" as an ethnic group. 2. Encyclopedia Britannica may interchange the terms, but wikipedia does not. Removed Again Intranetusa (talk) 01:42, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

  1. The CIA does indeed list "Australian" as an ethnic group. It doesn't matter that it's not listed next to Australia. It's listed somewhere in the Ethnic Groups column which means it's an identified ethnic group.
  2. That's a very poor argument. Wikipedia relies on sources like Encyclopaedia Britannica for its information. If such a credible source interchanges the terms then there's no reason why we should ignore it unless we can find a more credible source that says Brittanica is wrong.
  3. I notice that somebody reverted you. There's a message there. --AussieLegend (talk) 07:16, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Seeing as that someone reverted with the comment "What does the CIA have to do with this?", I think the message is that it was a bad reversion by someone who was not aware of the talk page discussion. Intranetusa should have referenced the talk page, but still the revert was ignorant of this discussion. AKAF (talk) 07:30, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
You've selectively quoted from the edit summary, which actually states "You are being premature. This is being discussed on the talk page. And what on earth has the CIA got to do with it?". Quite obviously the editor was well aware of the discussion, despite your assertion to the contrary. --AussieLegend (talk) 07:50, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
The fact that the editor was unaware of the only valid source so far proposed for the ethnicity data makes me think that they were not up to date. AKAF (talk) 07:56, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
That isn't a fact - you're just making assumptions. You have no idea what the editor was or was not aware of. --AussieLegend (talk) 08:32, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
"Australian" is not an ethnicity, but neither is "White" or "Asian" or "Aboriginal" --they're all groupings of multiple races. The problem with categorising demographics in Australia is that a serious amount of people don't know where their ancestors came from or come from a mix of ethnic backgrounds... Can the words "ethnic groups" not simply be changed to something else (or does it come with the template thing)?
As for the sources, why is the argument about which is more credible even coming up? The ABS has actually conducted the research--it's a primary source and an internal agency, whereas the CIA (which is a foreign organisation based in the United States) is a secondary source that gets its info from other sources. Unless of course the postman lost my copy of the CIA's "tick the box next to your ethnicity" pamphlet... So if both sources are just as incongruous with the subject, why would you not automatically go with the primary source? That is if you can't change the wording of "ethnic groups"...
Night w (talk) 08:13, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia prefers secondary and tertiary sources. See WP:PRIMARY. I would point out that this is a policy rather than a guideline or essay. It is not up for discussion. AKAF (talk) 08:27, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
The key word there is "prefers". "Primary sources that have been reliably published (for example, by a university press or mainstream newspaper) may be used in Wikipedia, but only with care, because it is easy to misuse them" is what the policy actually says. I know you're going to bring it up so I'll preempt you. The policy also says "Any interpretation of primary source material requires a reliable secondary source for that interpretation." There was no interpretation. It was a simple summary of the data in the source based on geographical origin of the groups listed. Summarisation was required because there was too much information to place in the infobox, as I've stated previously and had to re-iterate far too many times. --AussieLegend (talk) 08:42, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I think there is more than sufficient discussion above to establish that you have neither the training nor inclination to analyse that data source with sufficient care. It is further clear that you misused that data source (WP:SYNTH) by performing an analysis which was only weakly supported by the primary data. In contrast, the analysis of the CIA world factbook was performed by trained demographers, and is a good secondary source. This is a clear case where WP:PRIMARY applies, because the primary source does not say what you want it to, and WP:SYNTH does not allow an analysis of the sort you performed. I think it is extremely clear to everyone from the long threads above that the analysis you want to perform is far from simple. Further it is extremely questionable whether it is correct and whether you have the training to understand why it is not correct. I say this with the greatest of respect for your energy and other contributions, but the simple fact that you indicate the percentages to 0.01% accuracy is a very clear indication that you do not understand the data analysis at all. Therefore I would strongly suggest that in fact this is a textbook case of why WP:PRIMARY exists in the first place. AKAF (talk) 09:23, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
"have neither the training nor inclination to analyse that data source" - Exactly what part of "no analysis" and "simple summarisation" do you not understand?
"In contrast, the analysis of the CIA world factbook was performed by trained demographers" - It was? Who analysed it? As far as I can see you just duplicated what was in the entry. Is this your definition of analysis?
"WP:SYNTH does not allow an analysis of the sort you performed." - Again, for the umpteenth time, there was no analysis, it was a simple summary. There was a single source so, again for the umpteenth time, WP:SYNTH does not apply. - "Do not put together information from multiple sources to reach a conclusion that is not stated explicitly by any of the sources." - Note "multiple sources".
"I think it is extremely clear to everyone from the long threads above that the analysis you want to perform is far from simple." - You think that simple addition is not simple?
"the simple fact that you indicate the percentages to 0.01% accuracy is a very clear indication that you do not understand the data analysis at all." - Absolute and utter rubbish. This is yet another bad assumption. The only reason I used that precision is because I fully expected somebody would take issue if the percentages didn't add up to 100. I never once thought that somebody would take issue with people from Europe being labelled as European.
"Therefore I would strongly suggest that in fact this is a textbook case of why WP:PRIMARY exists in the first place." - I strongly suggest that this is a misinterpretation of policy. --AussieLegend (talk) 10:10, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I am sorry that you appear to be having some trouble understanding the arguments of everybody else here. However I cannot be responsible for reiterating the same arguments for the nth time if you refuse to educate yourself on how data analysis, citation and demography work. I would also suggest error propagation and significant figures as further topics of study, and your local library should be able to help you with a good text. AKAF (talk) 10:57, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
"There was a single source so, again for the umpteenth time, WP:SYNTH does not apply." You have invoked both Britannica and the CIA Factbook to justify your analysis of ABS data. That makes three sources.
Have a look at the example of synthesis on WP:SYNTH: "(1)Smith claimed that Jones did X. Jones replied that X is acceptable... (2)The Harvard manual does not call X 'plagiarism'." The policy page makes it clear that this is synthesis - even though both statements are sourced, assuming that (2) is relevant to (1) is OR. "To make the second paragraph consistent with this policy, a reliable source would be needed that specifically comments on the Smith and Jones dispute and makes the same point about the Harvard manual and plagiarism. In other words, that precise analysis must have been published by a reliable source in relation to the topic before it can be published in Wikipedia by a contributor." This is synthesis even though the editor has merely implied the conclusion ("Jones is not a plagiarist") by sticking two sourced statements together.
Smith accused Jones of X. The Harvard manual does not call X 'plagiarism'. This, per example above, is OR.
Smith described this data as 'ancestry'. The Harvard manual defines 'ancestry' as equivalent to 'ethnic group'. Still OR.
The ABS described this data as 'ancestry'. Britannica defines 'ancestry' as equivalent to 'ethnic group'. Still OR.
The ABS described this data as 'ancestry'. Britannica doesn't actually define 'ancestry' as equivalent to 'ethnic group', but it uses it that way. OR as above, plus a layer of interpretation (and not a very safe one, at that - if you see a doctor smoking, would you take that as medical advice to go out and light up?)
The ABS described this data as 'ancestry'. Britannica doesn't actually define 'ancestry' as equivalent to 'ethnic group', but it uses it that way, so the ABS' data is equivalent to 'ethnic groups'. OR+ as above, plus a little bit more OR because now we're explicitly stating a conclusion from that synthesis instead of just insinuating it.
This is ABS data on ethnic groups. - OR++ as above. Leaving out the bits where the OR happened doesn't make it non-SYNTH, it just makes it badly sourced SYNTH.
"You think that simple addition is not simple?" - I'm not sure how you get percentages using only addition, but leaving that aside temporarily, I'm willing to acknowledge that the techniques you're using are simple in a couple of senses - they're naive, and they're easy to implement. The problem is that assessing whether they're correct is an entirely different question, and not a simple one at all. (But FWIW, the answer is an emphatic 'no').
If I tell you that Scot has three kids and Erin has two, and ask how many kids Scot and Erin have altogether, a primary schoolkid can calculate 2+3=5 - it's a very simple calculation. But that doesn't mean it's right... --GenericBob (talk) 03:05, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
"You have invoked both Britannica and the CIA Factbook to justify your analysis of ABS data. That makes three sources." - Wrong! Back in December, when I origianally summarised the information, I used a single source. The data has been modified since then, as different documents appeared at the ABS link but there was always only one source used for each change. The CIA Factbook wasn't referred to until 5 days ago in response to Internetusa's claim that Australian wasn't an ethnicity. Neither that or Britannica was ever referred to in the past and they were only used on 16 April to show that other reliable sources referred to those ethnicities, demonstrating that the usage is widespread. Good try but no cigar.
"I'm not sure how you get percentages using only addition" - There's some irony in the fact that before I settled on "The only reason I used that precision is because I fully expected somebody would take issue if the percentages didn't add up to 100", I had written, "The only reason I used that precision is because I fully expected some pedant would take issue if the percentages didn't add up to 100", but I thought pedant was too stong a word. I see now that changing the word was a mistake. Next time I'll stick with my gut. Percentage buttons are standard on even the most basic calculators today. Calculating percentages is no harder than simple addition. I can show you if you want.
"If I tell you that Scot has three kids" (etc) - Nice example but it's considerably more complex than summarising the data in the source and somewhat disingenuous of you to try using it as an example of something completely different. Again you've missed out on that cigar. --AussieLegend (talk) 05:52, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Now please think about this, because I've put a lot of effort into a finding a simple example which explains the problems with your analysis of the data: If I tell you that at the zoo yesterday there were 100 monkeys, who consumed 50 bananas, 60 oranges and 20 watermelons for a total of 130 pieces of fruit. Assume that each monkey ate no more than one of each type of fruit. Your analysis method tells me that 38.46% of monkeys ate bananas, 46.15% of monkeys ate oranges and 15.38% of monkeys ate watermelons. There are several problems with this analysis:
  1. Pieces of fruit is only weakly correlated with number of monkeys (as responses are only weakly correlated with persons)
  2. You assume that the sets are independent (One monkey may eat more than one piece of fruit/one person may give more than one response)
  3. At best it will be an approximation to reality, with an additional systematic error correlated with the size difference between the two sets (The size difference is 23% in this case, 17.6% for the census data)
  4. It is particularly bad when you start to group sets. For instance to state that 53.85% of monkeys ate no oranges is a simple addition of the type which you have performed, but this has absolutely no basis in reality. Since each monkey ate no more than one of each type of fruit, then there are only 40 monkeys (40%) who actually ate no oranges. This is an error of 25.7% (of 53.85%).
  5. The stated accuracy of the computation (plusminus 0.01%) is just plain wrong. For this computation a realistic number would be plusminus one monkey (1%).
Now please think about this, because I've put a lot of effort into a simple example which explains why your analysis method is flawed. AKAF (talk) 06:35, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I had a longer response, but the editor ate it, which is perhaps just as well... while we could continue this argument until the end of time, I don't want to do that just for the sake of arguing. Whatever the problems may have been with content, I believe you (AussieLegend) have provided a solution in the form of a reliable secondary source that lists "ethnic groups of Australia" in a format suitable for the infobox, with no need for translation. You've also found an error in the ABS documentation, making it possible to get that fixed. And you've honoured your agreement that the methodology would have to change if the documentation changed. While I don't think we're going to reach agreement on the details of this particular issue, I would prefer to focus on a productive working relationship rather than continuing to thrash out an argument that's no longer contributing to the article. If we're all willing to accept the CIA Factbook figures here, I would be very happy to let the rest of this drop. Any objections? --GenericBob (talk) 07:47, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not entirely happy with the CIA data because I think it's problematic. In fact I'd rather see nothing there now but I'm not going to push for it. Let's leave things as they are and see what happens. --AussieLegend (talk) 08:16, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

If I could just return to the response to my talking about primary and secondary sources, if it's Wiki policy to go by secondary sources, why do the "ethnic groups" listed on the pages for Canada, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom all go by statistics provided by their own government census bureaus? Is Australia so incompetent at gathering our own statistics that we have to rely on the "intelligence" of the CIA? Is that what you're saying? I don't like the CIA figures because I find them vague and offensive. I'm with AL on either changing them or removing them from the box entirely. Night w (talk) 08:20, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

It's not a question of competence. The ABS does not provide the statistics for the ethnicities in the form they are presented in the box (or noone has been able to find them). The data provided by the ABS requires further analysis. It is not a question of incompetence, but of preparation of the raw data. The analysis of demographic data is hard to do and requires trained people to do it, and the only source we could find which has done this analysis in the form which is useful for the infobox is the CIA world factbook. Aussielegend performed an analysis on the data which was provided by the ABS to get those older figures. This analysis has been shown by many people to be fatally flawed in a number of key areas.
Now, your dislike of the CIA aside, it does have competent analysts. I'm sorry that you prefer the outcome of Aussielegend's analysis, but his results were bollocks. I cannot speak for the other articles, but probably the relevant bureaus did the statistical analysis in the form required. If not then we prefer to use a good analysis, and saying that they used a poor analysis is no excuse for doing do here. Relevant pages are WP:OTHERSTUFF as referenced in WP:WAX.
If this really bothers you, why don't you write to the ABS and ask them to provide a good set of data for the Wikipedia infobox? This would actually be an optimal outcome, and maybe they can be persuaded. The data in that infobox is also very questionable in other areas, for instance the population is probably also not correctly cited (it is uncorrected population data), and the GDP comes from the IMF. AKAF (talk) 08:59, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
I haven't checked the others, but Stats NZ publishes ethnicity data (see e.g. [31]), based on a Census question that specifically asks "which ethnic group do you belong to?" (Note that their published percentages add to more than 100%, because they allow more than one response.) The Australian Census doesn't have an equivalent question; while I can think of at least six that are relevant to ethnicity (Indigenous identification, COB of person, COB of father, COB of mother, ancestry, and language), you'd have to put them together and apply some expert judgement in order to form them into ethnic categories. And as AKAF notes, you'd probably want to correct for nonresponse, since some groups have higher rates of nonresponse than others.
The fact that SNZ collects that information and ABS doesn't isn't about competence, it's about finite resources and priorities. The more data you collect, the more it costs to process; this caused major embarrassment in the 1976 Census, when the ABS got too ambitious and half the forms had to be shredded unprocessed. Even if you have an unlimited budget for processing, asking too many questions gets you to a point of diminishing returns (people get bored and don't finish the form). So everybody has to make hard choices about what to leave out. The NZ design is better suited to describing the country's ethnic groups, but it's weaker on other scores - for instance, it's easy to identify second-generation Australians, but AFAIK there's no way to pick second-generation New Zealanders. --GenericBob (talk) 12:40, 22 April 2009 (UTC)