Vale Bill McLennan

Media Statement
Released
28/03/2022

Australian Statistician Dr David Gruen AO today paid tribute to former Australian Statistician Bill McLennan.

“Bill was a highly distinguished public servant in a career spanning almost 40 years, including as Australian Statistician from 1995 to 2000,” Dr Gruen said.

“Bill’s tremendous influence on the ABS, the field of statistics and the public service more broadly remains strong to this day, particularly his commitment to the quality of work and technological and methodological innovations.”

Mr McLennan began his career as a statistical cadet in 1960 with the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics (which become the ABS in 1975) and started working at the Bureau full time in 1964.

He was known for his abilities as a mathematical statistician, rising to become head of the Methodology branch in 1973 and appointed Deputy Australian Statistician in 1986.

In 1992, Mr McLennan was appointed Director of the Central Statistical Office (CSO) and head of the Government Statistical Service (GSS) of the United Kingdom, the first person from outside the UK to hold this position.

In 1995, Mr McLennan returned to Australia to take up the role of Australian Statistician which he held until retiring from the position in 2000. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant contributions to UK and Australian statistics.

“Bill leaves a great legacy for all of us at the ABS and his passing is a great loss," Dr Gruen said. "Our condolences go to his family.”