1304.5 - Stats Talk WA, Mar 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/03/2009   
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A View From The Top
From the Regional Director

It’s almost here!!! That time of the year where statistics take on a new meaning. Where people across the country religiously pore over the stats each Monday comparing and contrasting the numbers and what they mean. No, I’m not talking about a new session of Parliament or the next COAG report. Of course, I’m talking about the new AFL season.

I remember as a fanatical teenager studying the stats each Monday to work out not only if my team won or lost, but why. In those days the stats showed who kicked the goals and who were the best players. But that didn’t tell us much. As we went forward on the journey of trying to work out why we won or lost, the stats became more comprehensive. Today we have total disposals, inside 50s, hit outs, time in possession, effective tackles and the list goes on. The challenge for all armchair coaches (as well as the real coaches) is to work out what they mean.

The same is true for all statistics. The ABS is very good at counting things, but the real benefit is when the statistics tell us why. Why is it that Hawthorn won the Grand Final last year when the statistics probably favour Geelong? Why is it that one State may have lower crime rates than others? Where are the causal relationships with demographic factors and what does it tell us about the social policy challenges ahead?

This is why it is so important that we are able to understand, use and analyse statistics across government, academic and social institutions across Australia. If your organisation needs to up its statistical literacy, the ABS can help you, just contact us on 1300 135 070.

Michael Tindall, Government Statistician and ABS Regional Director, Western Australia

Michael Tindall,
Government Statistician and
ABS Regional Director,
Western Australia