Aged-care staff baulk at stand-in role for residents
Aged-care staff are worried they may be obliged to complete a same-sex marriage survey form on behalf of elderly residents whose views they oppose.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ general manager of people, culture and communication, Samantha Palmer, told a Senate inquiry yesterday the agency had heard from an aged-care provider whose staff were worried they may not wish to complete survey forms according to a resident’s wishes. “We’ve provided advice that if you do not feel you can complete a survey form in alignment with wishes of the person whose form it is, then you should respectfully decline,” Ms Palmer said.
Labor senator Louise Pratt expressed concern that religious aged-care centres could use exemptions under the Sex Discrimination Act to refuse to fill out forms on behalf of residents whose views conflicted with the religious beliefs of staff.
Deputy Australian Statistician Jonathan Palmer said institutions and individuals would be breaking the law if they filled forms out contrary to people’s wishes. He also said up to 20 forms had been offered for sale online, and he planned to meet the Australian Federal Police to discuss the activity and refer relevant cases to them.
Mr Palmer said an ABS team had been working with online marketplaces such as eBay to have ads blocked or removed.
The ABS estimated that by close of business yesterday, 7.5 million, or 47 per cent of Australians on the electoral roll, would have received their postal survey forms. Overseas voters can vote online from September 25.