ABS strongly denies "deceit" over data collection, Sep 2005

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October 14, 2005
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

ABS strongly denies "deceit" over data collection

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) completely denies accusations of "deceit" claimed in the article 'Stats office accused of deceit', published today in The Australian Financial Review.

The Australian Statistician, Dennis Trewin, said the claims by Unions NSW, Secretary, John Robertson, as reported in The Australian Financial Review, were "totally baseless".

"The ABS is an apolitical organisation and presents objective statistics without interference from government," he said.

"This fundamental feature of our work is guaranteed by an Act of Parliament.

"The timing of our collections and the way in which our statistics are defined, collected and published is decided solely by us and is based on high professional and ethical standards.

"The Employees Earnings and Hours (EEH) survey will be run in May 2006 as scheduled, contrary to the claim by The Australian Financial Review.

"The ABS however may not collect data on pay setting arrangements in this collection due to uncertainty caused by possible implementation of the proposed new workplace relations system.

"A final decision will be made next month after discussions with key users.

"The survey questions relating to pay setting arrangements will be redeveloped following any change to the workplace relations system and the questions will be reintroduced into the subsequent EEH survey, scheduled for May 2008.

"This does not rule out the possibility of asking the questions prior to 2008 to provide an earlier set of baseline data."