8 April 2021

Dear {Contact_First_Name}, 

A few weeks ago, I asked our members to get in touch with me if they had heard of any threats to statistics staff, degrees or units in universities around Australia. I’d like to thank all of those who reached out to me. It seems that many universities in Australia are proposing cuts, or have already cut, statistics jobs: my thoughts are with our members who are impacted by these cuts.

These cuts shock me in their short-sightedness. Statistics is the discipline of extracting knowledge from data, providing a scientific framework for dealing with variation. Sound statistical analysis and interpretation of results provides the bedrock of sound research. Statisticians are needed to train the next generation of scientists, support researchers across scientific disciplines, and develop methods to extract information from ever-more-complex data sources. Without us, what would the future bring for Australian research?

Jessica Kasza
SSA President

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The 2021 Lancaster lecture from Adrian started by presenting the

2021 Lancaster Lecture

Professor Adrian Barnett from the Queensland University of Technology, who is also the former president of Statistics Society of Australia, delivered the thirteenth Lancaster Lecture to the New South Wales Branch on 24th March 2021. 

The talk was delivered in-person at the University of Sydney in the presence of around 50 attendees who were super enthusiastic about listening to Adrian's lecture on "Bad statistics in medical research". His lecture was also virtually attended by more than 50 participants who were very active on the chat to comment and congratulate Adrian's presentation. Adrian, who has an impressive successful collaboration with medical scientists, exposed and faced the audience with a clear picture of the derived statistics practice in medical journals. He presented very nice graphs to support his comments and summarised the importance to change the conversation about statistics in medical research. It raised to our community many remarks and questions from both audience and the chat forum. 

You can view a recording of the event here.

Benoit Liquet

Macquarie University

ISI and IAOS joint media release:

ISI and IAOS express call for an end to the persecuting of Andreas Georgiou

The ISI and IAOS have followed with growing concern the continued persecution through the justice system in Greece of Andreas Georgiou, former Head of the Greek Statistical Office, ELSTAT.

Our previous statements in support are on our website.

A Greek appeals court has found Andreas Georgiou liable for slander. The slander charges relate to a public statement Georgiou made in his official role as President of ELSTAT while fulfilling his responsibility to defend the official deficit and debt statistics for Greece produced under his leadership. These statistics have been fully validated by Eurostat—the statistical office of the EU.  The UN’s Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics give statistical offices the right to comment publicly on criticisms and misuse of statistics.

Greece's legal actions and decisions against Georgiou on several closely related cases is now in its tenth year with the initial legal proceedings against him having begun in September 2011.

We restate our grave concern that these continued prosecutions have damaged the scientific integrity of highly regarded work addressing Greece’s problematic fiscal statistical reporting from the 2000s. This case has implications for the international statistical system, and the rights of government statisticians to defend their statistics, as allowed under the UN Principles.

In September 2018 Georgiou was awarded a special commendation by the ISI, the American Statistical Association, the Royal Statistical Society and other statistical societies to acknowledge his upholding of the highest professional standards in his public service in the pursuit of integrity of statistical systems.

Defending official statistics, as required by the UN Fundamental Principles of Statistics and the European Statistics Code of Practice, should not lead to legal prosecution.

We join with other statistical associations in:

  1. urging the end to the now 10-year persecution of Andreas Georgiou and his full exoneration, thereby signalling Greece’s commitment to accurate and ethical government statistics.
  2. calling on the international statistical community to express their support for Andreas Georgiou in media outlets throughout the world.

John Bailer
International Statistical Institute

John Pullinger
International Association for Official Statistics

The registration for the virtual 2021 ISI Short Courses Programme, organized in cooperation with the ISI Associations, is now open.

The courses will take place from 6 May to 1 July 2021, prior to the virtual ISI WSC 2021.

You are invited to register for the course(s) of your choice as soon as possible in order to secure your spot.

Registrations can be made via Short Courses 2021 - ISI (

Missed any webinars or branch events?

SSA Vice President (Communications) Carmen Lim was working around the clock last week, editing and uploading new event recordings to the SSA website. Happy webinar bingeing!


Parallel Tempering on Optimized Paths - Trevor Campbell

Principal stratification based on latent survival classes to predict treatment outcomes for localized kidney cancer - Brian Egleston

Introducing the SSA Mentoring Program - Karen Lamb

Branch Seminars 

Lancaster lecture: Bad statistics in health and medical research - Adrian Barnett

How to see the forest from the trees: Removing pesky artefacts from discrete data for better visualisation - Gordana Popovic

The statistical quandaries of an ecologist: Applied and theoretical statistics for conservation - David Wilkinson

You can catch up on many more webinars and branch seminars on the SSA website!

Computational and Applied Statistics (CAS 2021) which is being held in Cagliari, Italy has a new deadline for Submissions. The new deadline for paper submission is April 30, 2021.

CAS is a workshop organized as part of the International Conference on Computational Science and its Applications - ICCSA 2021.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

* Computational Statistics: new issues in the design of computational algorithms for implementing statistical methods, development in R, etc

* Applications: statistical case study in all areas of sciences, engineering and industry, including economics, medicine, biology, earth sciences and social sciences.

The authors can submit abstracts and papers to your session accessing the electronic submission site: You can find the instructions to prepare and submit papers on the web site:

If you have any questions please contact Ana Cristina Braga ( CAS 2021 organizer

Statistical Society of Australia - Joint Victoria & Canberra Branch Panel Event

The Rise and Rise of Data Science Centres and Institutes

20 Apr 2021, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM AEST - Online

The past five years has witnessed the birth and growth of a number of cross-disciplinary data science centres and institutes across Australia, as universities (in particular) invest more time and resources into research and education in the data science space. But what exactly is the aim of such centres and institutes? And where does statistics, and the traditional model of a statistics department fit into this?

In this joint event between the Victoria and Canberra branches of the SSA, we have the pleasure of hearing from 

  • Prof. Kerrie Mengersen - Director of QUT Centre for Data Science,
  • Prof. Eric Stone - Director of ANU Biological Data Science Institute, and
  • Prof. Joanna Batstone - Director of Monash Data Futures Institute.

They will share their views and visions for how such centres are organised and run. An open discussion panel will then follow where the audience can ask questions and contribute their own diverse viewpoints (of which we expect many!). Come join us to hear about the future of data science.

To register, click here.

Previously mentioned ....

ISI World Statistics Congress - reduced registration fee for two SSA members

The 63rd ISI World Statistics Congress will be held virtually from 11-16 July 2021. It will bring together statisticians and data scientists from academia, official statistics, health sector and business, junior and senior professionals, in an inviting virtual environment. The inspiring and interactive programme will provide the platform to learn about the latest developments in statistical research and practice in an informal ambiance.

The scientific programme will introduce the latest developments in statistical research and practice through presentations, discussions and a series of short courses; the virtual exhibition will showcase the work and products of those who support our profession.

Our “very own” Professor Kerrie Mengersen is the ISI President’s Invited Speaker for the Virtual WSC 2021. Kerrie is Distinguished Professor of Statistics at Queensland University of Technology in the Faculty of Science and an incoming Vice-President of the ISI. Her work spans Bayesian statistics, computational statistics, environmental, genetic and health statistics, statistical consulting and more including citizen science. She was a guest on the Stats+Stories podcast Stats in Celebration of Earth Day & Explaining Bayes Better a few years ago – click on the links to hear the episodes and to get a preview of what you might expect from her WSC 2021 lecture.

SSA is a member of the ISI and as a result two of our members are entitled to reduced registration fees for the conference. This brings the early bird fee down to EUR155. Interested? Please email me and I will advise the ISI that you will be our representative. Places will be given away on a first-come - first-serve basis. Selected delegates will be asked to write an article for SSA's weekly newsletter about their conference experience  post-event.

SSA ECSSN T-shirt is now available!

The winning SSA ECSSN t-shirt design by Ben Harrap is now available to be purchased. Visit Das T-Shirt Automat to buy your fabulous t-shirt today! The cost is $40 ($30 for students) plus shipping. There are two styles available: the one pictured here, and a more fitted scoop neck version. All proceeds will go towards supporting early career and student statisticians.

Click here to read how Ben came up with and developed this wonderful design in homage to some of Australia’s great statisticians.

New CPD Survey Out now

SSA’s CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Committee is conducting a survey to help us understand what type professional development our members are interested in.

The information will be used to determine

  • Which workshops or course topics our members would be particularly interested in attending
  • Which workshops or course topics our members would be interested and presenting
  • The level of interest in getting engaged with SSA’s mentorship program.

We invite you to complete the survey and appreciate your time and feedback. Your responses will help to shape SSA’s CPD program for the remainder of the year and beyond

The survey will take between 5 to 10 minutes and closes on 15 May 2021.

Thank you!

Kind regards,

CPD Committee

Start the survey

Student top-up scholarships

We have launched a new scheme to help statistics students in Australia. We will award four top-up scholarships to current higher degree students who are members of the society. Each award will be $5,000 per year. The scheme is open to part-time or full-time students, and to domestic or international students. For full details and the application form go to our web page. The deadline for applications is Friday, 23 April 2021.

This is a new scheme, so there may things to iron-out. If you have any questions, then please e-mail Adrian Barnett. We hope this new scheme will be tremendously successful and become a regular annual award that will support lots of our students.

Introduction to Machine Learning for Health Data

8-9 July 2021, Adelaide

SSA and Flinders University are proudly offering this workshop with Presenter Dr Oscar Perez-Concha, Centre for Big Data Research in Health, UNSW Sydney.

This course introduces the basics for understanding and using machine learning algorithms.

We will discuss the machine learning workflow, from clearly defining our research question to the rationale behind choosing different machine learning techniques for different scenarios, highlighting questions such as over-fitting/under-fitting, missing data, and interpretability. We will focus on the principles behind some of the most used supervised learning algorithms.

For more information and to register, please click here.


Register now:

Early Bird closes

19 May 2021


The Early Career & Student Statisticians Conference (ECSSC) 2021 will be held on 26 July to 1 August 2021. We are delighted to announce that we will be holding our conference virtually! ECSSC2021 will bring together the best students and early-career professionals in statistics and data analysis from all around Australia.

This event is not to be missed! Register now!

To keep up-to-date with ECSSC2021, please go to the official conference website.

If you have news from the Australian statistical community to share in Stats Matters and Events, please get in touch with us! We love getting feedback too.

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