ABS responds to opinion article "In search of a deeper politics" by Richard Eckersley (The Canberra Times, 16 September 2011, pg 17)

ABS Measuring Australia's Progress

Richard Eckersley, (In search of a deeper politics, CT September 16) highlights the need to understand commercial and economic progress in the context of health and wellbeing. Bob Douglas (CT September 19) agrees, and proposes new indicators that inform on quality of life and address our relationships with other people and the environment. Canberra Times readers may wish to know the Australian Bureau of Statistics is currently consulting on its flagship publication Measures of Australia's Progress (MAP). MAP is a world leader, having responded as early as 2002 to the call to "go beyond GDP" and present, side by side, a broader range of social, economic and environmental indicators. This year the ABS is asking Australians to join a national conversation about what matters in life, to help us assess whether our national progress measures address what Australians most care about. Readers are invited to go to the MAP Blog (www.abs.gov.au/about/progress/blog) and contribute their thoughts. As Bob Douglas suggests, we need to "start measuring what is important" - to do this we are first asking Australians to tell us what they think those important areas are.

Trevor Sutton
Deputy Australian Statistician
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra ACT