ABS response to article in The Guardian (28/08/19)

The ABS strongly refutes any claim by The Guardian that it attempted to misrepresent data relating to the Household Income and Wealth publication released on 12 July 2019.

Household Income and Wealth contains information showing the distribution of income and wealth across Australia.

As with all ABS publications, the complete range of statistics in the Household Income and Wealth publication is freely available on our website. This includes measures such as the mean and median household net worth from 2005-06 to 2017-18. It also includes the Gini coefficient for household net worth, an internationally accepted summary measure of inequality.

Two media releases were drafted for the publication – one on household wealth and one on household income – specifically to highlight the stories within the data. Both were prepared internally with no external influence, as is our practice as Australia’s national statistical organisation. All information in these media releases is factual, including that inequality had not changed between recent years, and that the marginal changes in both income and wealth inequality (as measured by the Gini coefficient) reported by the ABS were not statistically significant. The media releases were not intended to contain all the data but were aimed at encouraging further examination of the information.

At the time of release, the ABS worked with a range of media organisations, including The Guardian, to draw their attention to the full range of published data and offer the advice of its experts. This enabled these media organisations to analyse the data and produce their own stories.

The ABS has a proud history of independence, producing high quality statistics to inform important decisions for the nation and is committed to upholding this standard now and into the future.