ABS responds to ‘Hiding real dole figures’ (Daily Telegraph, 26 Aug 2013, pg 14)

To the Editor, The Daily Telegraph,

I refer to Bruce McDougall's article of 26 August 2013, ‘Hiding real dole figures’. The article suggests that ABS unemployment estimates are manipulated by changes to government programs. This is not true. The ABS unemployment estimates are compiled independently of government programs and are based on international standards. As Australian Statistician, I have the sole responsibility for determining how ABS statistics are measured and I am not, and cannot, be influenced by the Australian Government in this regard.

The ABS's Labour force status applies objective criteria about a person's labour market activity in the reference period. These criteria are independent of whether or not a person is in education or training.

Brian Pink
Australian Statistician
August 2013