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ABS responds to 'ABS accused of putting a spin on suicide rates' (Sydney Morning Herald, 25 July 2012, pg.6)

I refer to your article that the ABS has been accused of dishonesty and spin in its reporting of national suicide rates. The ABS strongly refutes any suggestion of a lack of transparency or objectivity in the statistics we have published, and stands by the quality of the causes of death dataset from which suicide statistics are derived.

While the measurement of suicide information is both complex and challenging, the ABS has world class processes for classifying deaths, including a revisions process which allows time for coroners to make findings on potential suicides.

ABS' role is to provide high quality national official statistics to inform policy and decision making. It is up to those who utilise the statistics to interpret them in the most appropriate manner for their particular purpose.

Peter Harper
Deputy Australian Statistician
Australian Bureau of Statistics

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