Data sources

The information in this report is based on fact of death information from the National Death Index and cause of death information from the National Mortality Database as well as information on members of the 3 ADF service status groups from Department of Defence payroll systems and DVA client interactions from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs administrative systems. The details of these sources are as follows:

  • National Mortality Database (NMD). Cause of Death Unit Record File data are provided to the AIHW by the Australian Coordinating Registry as compiled by the ABS on behalf of Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Cause of death and demographic items are coded by the ABS from data originating from the Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages and the NCIS (managed by the Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety). The data are maintained by the AIHW in the NMD. In this study, the NMD is used in the calculation of Australian rates and SMRs, and is the same source of information on cause of death as used in the NDI.
  • National Death Index (NDI). The NDI is managed by the AIHW and contains person-level records of all deaths in Australia since 1980 obtained from the Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriage in each state and territory. Its use is confined to data linkage studies approved by the AIHW Ethics Committee for health and medical research. NDI records are supplemented with cause of death information from the NMD. In this study, the NDI is linked with Defence payroll data to create the linked Defence payroll–NDI data set used in analysis of suicide in the ADF population.
  • Department of Defence personnel system data. The Department of Defence compiled a file of current and historical Defence personnel systems covering ADF members who have served since 1 January 1985. This combines PMKeyS, Core HR system, D1, CENRESPAY (for reservists), ADFPAY (for permanent members) and other historical payment systems. The Department of Defence and AIHW assessed the resulting file for completeness and duplicates. Comparisons were made with records from Department of Defence annual reports and other sources to validate the list. Data from the National Archives was also investigated for its suitability in validation, however as the majority of records are electronic files based on photos of paper records, this was not usable. 
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Administrative data are provided to the AIHW by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, these comprise DVA client data and DVA National Treatment Account data extracted from current DVA systems. The active information infrastructure contains data only for DVA clients who are alive or died on after 1 January 2000. In this study, the DVA data are linked with Defence payroll-NDI data sets and used in analysis of DVA client status among the ADF population.