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Trust in Official Statistics (Belz Lecture/World Statistics Day)

  • 20 Oct 2020
  • 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM (AEDT)
  • Webinar via Zoom


Registration is closed

Join the Victorian Branch in celebrating World Statistics Day 2020 with our annual Belz Lecture. This event is co-hosted with the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Melbourne. We are delighted to present a webinar and Q&A delivered by Teresa Dickinson, Deputy Australian Statistician.

“To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved”: a maxim for official statistics?

The population of Australia on 24 August 2020 was 25,652,160. Full-time adult average weekly earnings in May 2020 were $1,713.90. While these numbers are certainly precise, can users trust they are accurate?

The next Australian Census will ask information about your income, ancestry and long-term health conditions. Can you trust that the ABS will keep this personal data secure and only release it in ways that cannot identify you?

The theme for World Statistics Day, which acknowledges the fundamental importance of statistics for informed decision making, is “Connecting the world with data we trust”.

This talk explores the concept of trust in relation to the official statistics produced by government. It looks at both trust in the statistics produced (the numbers) and trust in statistical institutions and how they behave, and explains why trust is now a big issue for National Statistical Offices (NSOs). It explores how the ABS and other NSOs are working to strengthen trust amongst stakeholders, including the public.

Teresa Dickinson

Teresa Dickinson is a Deputy Australian Statistician with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, where her responsibilities include leading the 2021 Census. Teresa has nearly 20 years of senior leadership experience in official statistics in Australia and New Zealand. Prior to working in official statistics she worked in a range of statistical roles in consulting and government, including 9 years with the CSIRO. Teresa is a passionate believer in the power of data to improve lives and is proud of the place ABS has in informing Australia’s most important decisions.

Slides and recording


Post-Lecture Social Event

Following the conclusion of the Belz Lecture we have lined up Simon Pampena, a stand-up mathematician, to entertain us in his comedy show "The Probability Drive". Registration is essential for both the Zoom info and entry for door prizes. More information is available on the event page:

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