16 July 2020

Dear {Contact_First_Name}, 

Aiming for diversity at the top

The statistical community in Australia is diverse, and as the national peak body for statisticians, it is essential that the Statistical Society of Australia reflect this diversity. The Executive Committee of the Society is committed to taking action to ensure that the diversity in the Australian statistical community is reflected at the highest levels of the Society. There is a massive pool of talent to draw upon within the Australian statistical community.

To reflect the diversity of the Australian statistical community, the Statistical Society of Australia aims to have a more diverse range of future national Presidents and other senior executive positions. When recruiting senior executive, we will actively welcome candidates who identify as female or non-binary, are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, or are culturally diverse, or have a disability. We do not expect that all candidates will fall within one of these categories, but there are many talented statisticians in Australia who do. We will also seek out presidential candidates who work outside of the academic setting. Our aim is to ensure that the Society’s leadership better reflects the Society as a whole. 

Adrian Barnett
SSA President

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A suggestion from one of our readers

A colleague recently told me of completing a survey where, when asked about their ethnicity, they were only allowed to give one answer, but they are from two cultural groups. Mutually exclusive questions to ethnicity are the norm, but allowing respondents to tick multiple responses may better reflect the truth and avoid vexing respondents.

From our Young Statisticians Network

We want to know if you think we should change the name of our Young Statisticians Network. Do you love the title "Young Statisticians Network" and wish us to keep it, or do you think the name could be changed to better reflect the Section's dedication to students and early career researchers? Vote before Monday, 20 July 2020, via Twitter

or email the SSA office to tell us if you want to keep the name or change it (maybe with a suggestion as to what to change it to).

Thank you. 

Desert Island Discs

If you like podcasts then I can recommend the latest episode of the BBC’s Desert Island Discs. This is a long-running radio show where “castaways” are asked to choose the eight songs they’d want with them if they were marooned on a desert island. This week’s castaway was Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO and former prime minister of Norway. Castaways are also allowed to take a book with them, and Jens chose a text book in statistics because, “it was my favourite subject” and “because it’s actually extremely time consuming to read text books in statistics, you can spend days just reading and learning and understanding three or four pages, so if I only have one book I think I can spend a lot of time on that while the alternative is a novel or some other normal book I can read it in a few days and then I don’t have anything else to read. So if I only have one book, a text book in statistics can comfort me for many days.” Well said! Perhaps we should send one to Scott Morrison for his next visit to Hawaii!

Adrian Barnett
President, SSA

Going to a conference/workshop this year? Check out the SSA Canberra young statisticians "rego" grant!

SSA Canberra is inviting young statisticians from the ACT and regional NSW, who are planning to attend a conference/workshop/short course in a field related to statistics or data science, to apply for financial support in the form of a "SSA Canberra registration grant". SSA Canberra will award an amount up to $200 AUD per successful application. 

Please click here for more information!

Here is a reminder that the Victorian Branch is offering financial support to its members for attending statistical workshops / short courses in 2020!

You can submit your application using this online form, and for more information on funding and eligibility, see the website.

There is still time to register for two of our July workshops!

Introduction to Julia for Statistics and Data Science

Machine learning with Python 

Please feel free to email me with any questions. Thanks!

Lizzie Korevaar
Treasurer, SSA Vic 

Melbourne Centre for Data Science Seminar Series

Running monthly throughout 2020, the third event in the series is coming up on Friday 31 July at 10am AEST via Zoom.

Our centre is pleased to host David Blei, professor of Statistics and Computer Science at Columbia University, and a member of the Columbia Data Science Institute. He studies probabilistic machine learning, including its theory, algorithms, and application. David has received several awards for his research. He received a Sloan Fellowship (2010), Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (2011), Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2011), Blavatnik Faculty Award (2013), ACM-Infosys Foundation Award (2013), a Guggenheim fellowship (2017), and a Simons Investigator Award (2019). He is the co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Machine Learning Research. He is a fellow of the ACM and the IMS. David’s website is at

More information

Previously advertised - places still available!

Talking to stakeholders: Statistics in the outside world

Statistics are used by government, industry and the media. Statisticians sometimes have to deliver unpopular or controversial messages couched in complex numbers. 

How do we talk about statistics to people who lack a technical understanding of the field? What makes statistics news? And, how do you ensure your numbers are used correctly? 

Join us for an online discussion and Q&A with a panel featuring Ron Sandland, former Head of CSIRO Maths and Stats and former chair of AMSI.  Joining Ron will be Tory Shepherd, former political editor for the Adelaide Advertiser and William Milne, Director of the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics..

The forum will be moderated by Niall Byrne from Science in Public.

It will run online on Friday 31 July, between 2pm and 3.30pm AEST. This is a free event for members of SSA and ABS employees. The general public can attend for a fee ($50.00).

Register now

You are invited: SSA and ASPAI AGMs - 4 August 2020

The 2020 Annual General Meetings of the Statistical Society of Australia, Inc and the Australian Statistical Publishing Association Inc will be held on Tuesday, 4 August 2020 from 5:30 pm to 6:15 pm via Zoom.

The SSA and ASPAI AGMs are available to members of SSA only. Please use the registration link below to indicate your attendance. You do not need to register separately for the talk  immediately following the AGMs.

This year’s AGMs will be followed by a presentation from RSS President, Professor Deborah Ashby at 6:15 pm. Professor Ashby is the Director of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London where she holds the Chair in Medical Statistics and Clinical Trials, and was Founding Co-Director of Imperial Clinical Trials Unit.

The title of Professor Ashby’s talk is “Florence Nightingale at 200: using data to improve health from the time of the Crimea to the time of the coronavirus” and the abstract is available on the registration page.

Register here

SSA Online Workshop: Introduction to Julia for Statistics and Data Science

The Vic Branch of SSA is proud to announce the upcoming programming and statistics workshop: Introduction to Julia for Statistics and Data Science, presented by Yoni Nazarathi from The University of Queensland. It will be delivered online, over two half days, on 24 and 27 July. The early bird prices are low – especially for student members.

This workshop is targeted at people who have used a language like R or Python before. Julia has a growing number of statistical libraries. It is fast, easy to use, and open source. Julia aims to solve the two-language-problem. The workshop is closely followed by the free online JuliaCon 2020 conference. So, there’s a great opportunity to link up with the Julia community afterwards.

Click here for full details, instructor bio and registration

Workshop: Machine learning with Python

20 Jul 2020, 9:00 AM - 21 Jul 2020, 12:30 PM

The Vic Branch of the Statistical Society of Australia warmly invites you to a workshop on machine learning with Python, presented by a data scientist from Eliiza (to be announced).

  • Day 1: Getting Started with Machine Learning This is a hands-on course for making predictive models using machine learning.
  • Day 2: Introduction to Deep Learning

This workshop will teach you how to use the TensorFlow 2.0 framework to construct neural networks and apply them to tasks such as image recognition.

Click here to find out more

Only one week to go!

Webinar, exclusively for members of SSA and NZSA:

Writing successful fellowships  Friday, 24 July 2020, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM (AEST)

Success rates for fellowship applications are plummeting, but success is not impossible! This interactive panel-style webinar will feature brief presentations from three past/current SSA presidents: Distinguished Professor Kerrie Mengersen (ARC Laureate), Professor Scott Sisson (ARC Future Fellow) and Professor Adrian Barnett (NHMRC Fellow), followed by an extended discussion and question time. Gain knowledge and inspiration to help optimise your chances!

Click here to find out more and to register

Tired of surveys but eager to leave feedback? Tell us what you are missing from your SSA membership. Or let us know what we do well. We will listen. 

Contact us

Statistical Society of Australia |  PO Box 213 Belconnen ACT 2616 Australia 

02 6251 3647 |