On ABS collection practices

Jonathan Palmer, Deputy Australian Statistician, Australian Bureau of Statistics writes: Re. “They’re at it again: stats collectors come back for another assault on privacy”  (Wednesday)

In addition to the Census, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) produces regular statistics, such as unemployment, that are of vital importance to our country.
Unemployment and employment data is generated from the Monthly Population Survey which has been conducted since 1960 and involves a scientifically-selected sample of households that are legally required to participate.
The vast majority of people selected to be part of this survey understand its importance and contribute to it willingly.
We appreciate the support of everyone who participates in the MPS. Their input underpins nationally important statistics that are used by all sections of Australian society.

On Snowy Hydro 2.0

Denise Marcos writes: Re. “Turnbull lifts his game on gas –as a key reform era ends” (Thursday)

It seems like only yesterday when Scott Morrison was flaunting a lump of coal in the House of Representatives, lauding its properties and importance to Australia’s economy. Suddenly coal has become an embarrassing four letter word as the Turnbull government scurries in another direction, desperately scrambling to embrace technology of the mid-twentieth century ie: the Snowy River Scheme. Exciting times! Next week, in a fit of unbridled agility, will Turnbull announce the resurrection of telegrams by Australia Post?

Turnbull claims he is a nation building prime minister – more accurately, he is a notion building prime minister.

On Sally McManus

John Richardson writes: Re.“Do pearl-clutching journalists understand what the law really is?” (Friday)

While few would argue with Bernard Keane’s willingness to take journalists for a few rounds of the kitchen for their largely ignorant & slavish responses to the courageous behaviour of Sally McManus, I would have been more impressed if his criticisms had extended to the “others” in our crimplene public space only too ready to join in the fun. The most prominent & hypocritical of those was surely our Prime Minister who, given his qualifications, would understand much better than most journalists what a load of codswallop was being dished-up by him & his knuckle-dragging fellow travellers.

As Joe Boswell has already reminded us (“On Sally McManus” Friday), it was the great philosopher & jurist, St. Thomas Aquinas who argued that “An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.” The willingness of Sally McManus to break unjust laws deserves support from us all, while the willingness of the Prime Minister & his ilk to support such laws is simply testament to what scoundrels they really are. And thanks also to Bill Shorten for reminding us why he is no more fit to hold the office of Prime Minister than Malcolm Trumble; unless, of course, it was to keep Dutton or Morrison or any of the other vandals from getting their rotten hands on the levers of power. 

Peter Fray

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