Liberal Senator Eric Abetz has criticised the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for recording same-sex marriages in census data.

The ABS does not record such marriages as legal marriages but this year collected data on the number of same-sex couples who reported they were married.

During Senate Estimates hearings Abetz said the ABS should not bother evaluating such responses from same-sex couples when same-sex marriages were not recognised under Australian law and demanded to know which groups had sought the information.

“Why are we collecting the information on something which the law, for public policy reasons, does not recognise?,” Abetz asked.

Labor Senator Louise Pratt said Abetz needed to respect that the ABS was an independent authority.

“Through its consultations, the ABS has clearly and rightly formed the view that there is public interest in data regarding same-sex couples,” Pratt said.

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