Friday, 19 December 2008

Getting under the statistician's skin

.” Lies, Damn Lies and AFR Editorials on statistics” is what Brian Pink has called the statement on the ABS website this morning responding to an editorial in yesterday’s Financial Review. The Australian Statistician is clearly peeved the Fin has resorted “to a conspiracy theory to seek to explain my decisions over the past 12 months on changes to the statistical program of the ABS.”

Mr Pink also expresses his disappointment that “the AFR published this opinion without paying me the courtesy of contacting me to get my views on the situation.”

Clearly Mr Pink is a sensitive fellow who does not fancy with being portrayed as the villain whose changes to data collection made retail sales statistics unreliable and that is understandable enough. If there is a villain in this story of budget cutbacks it is those dreadful fellows in the Department of Finance with their love of across the board efficiency dividends. At least the Statistician can console himself with the knowledge that this little stoush will make it more likely that his budget will be dealt with more sympathetically in the round of discussions now getting under way.

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