On ABS collection practices

Marcus L’Estrange writes: re: “Most people are willing to aid ABS” (Monday)

In essence the unemployment figures produced from the Monthly Population Survey are NOT of vital importance to Australia as claimed by Mr Palmer as they are as dodgy as some MP’s Travel Allowance claims and this is known by the ABS. Surely it’s time to get real on how the ABS warps the unemployment numbers. Australians who sought more work, or wanted to get work, did not fit the official definition of unemployed. This was because the Australian Bureau of Statistics Unemployment Estimate classifies an unemployed person as part of the labour force only if, when surveyed, they have been actively looking for work in the four weeks up to the end of the reference week and if they are available for work in the stipulated week.

That instantly cuts out those who have long ago become disenchanted with the process of looking for a job as well as those only passively looking because they are growing frustrated with each passing day. The ABS estimate does not take into account people who have been employed for a few hours of part-time work per week but would like to work more hours. To the ABS, these people are ’employed’. This is patently ridiculous. In a country with lagging labour productivity, we need an accurate measure of who is truly unemployed. It’s like being told to count sheep and counting only the black ones. It’s time Australians boycotted the Monthly Population Survey and not just for privacy claims.

On a Croc cull

Katalin Foran writes:  Re. “Croc War: the case for culling” (Monday)

We have been visiting the Daintree in Far North Queensland for many years with my husband, and for the past five years with our two small children.  A great way to escape the Melbourne cold mid-winter! I have the most beautiful memories of days spent walking on amazing beaches and wading through the water where the natural wonders of rainforest and reef meet. 

Although there are Crocs in the area, there was never one seen (not even tracks) on the particular beach we visit.   So, although always aware, I felt pretty safe. And then last year during our stay, a 5 meter cCroc moved in.  Nothing concentrates the mind of a mother like the sighting of an apex predator a few meters from where your one and five year old children have just been playing.  These things are no joke, and this particular one didn’t appear to be passing through, but actively watching people and what they were doing.  So no walking on the beach, definitely staying away from the water and real effects on small local businesses offering activities such as canoeing.  As far as I know the Croc was not removed.

According to the locals there does seem to be an increase in sightings, as territorial behaviour means they move into areas and locations where previously they may have only passed through.  Yes Crocs are part of nature, but they are not endangered any more, and numbers have recovered healthily.  So I’m not sure if culling is the way to go, but regarding things that want to eat me, well, better them than me!

On CEOs and Marriage equality

John Kotsopoulos writes: Re. “CEOs splash in the shallow pool of Australian free speech” (Monday)

What exactly are the Dutton leadership credentials that he is supposedly burnishing with his commentary on marriage equality? I have yet to see any, unless you count a distant and unsettling resemblance to Paul Keating.

Peter Fray

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