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24 November 2022

Dear {Contact_First_Name},.

Those who know me would be aware that I have a chocolate addiction. As a regular consumer of Snickers bars, I have witnessed first-hand over the years how this source of great delight has reduced in size, while the price remained the same, trying to lull me into the false belief that all is well. Despite being aware of the sneaky methods that Snickers producer Mars Inc uses, I was shocked when I recently purchased a fun-size pack of Snickers and realised that they are now just little cubes, practically square and no longer a “bar” at all. So not much fun at all!

I did not know that there is a word for this development until I watched a video clip with Alan Kohler (ABC news) last week. He explained that this phenomenon has a name: “shrinkflation”. While we’re all aware that it happens, Alan Kohler says we can’t be sure to what extent, because “shrinkflation” is difficult to measure.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) tries to stay on top of it, by accounting for “quality change” in the data collected. On the ABS website it states: “The use of transactions ‘scanner’ data in the Australian CPI, which provides detailed item information, enables the ABS to identify and adjust for quality change arising from shrinkflation.”

How does the ABS measure other clever ploys that companies come up with to get us to part with more money? Check your tube of toothpaste, for example. Has the opening become larger, so that you unintentionally squeeze out more toothpaste, thus return to the shop sooner to purchase more? Or perhaps your favourite washing powder brand introduced a scoop that is larger than the amount of washing powder you need to use – getting you to use more washing powder than required.

I guess there is a difference between companies affected by the highest level of inflation we have seen in thirty years, trying to recover their costs, and plain old greed. While I don’t want to be the one who helps finance some CEO’s million-dollar yacht anchored outside Monte Carlo, I also don’t want to complain too much about “shrinkflation” if it helps keep people in employment. So off I go to buy more Snickers!

Marie-Louise Rankin
Executive Officer 

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SSA 60th anniversary slide

Congratulations to the talented winners of prizes at our Early Career and Student Statistician Miniconference 2022:

15 minutes presentations

1. Jet Kye Chong: "Predicting Marimba Stickings Using Long Short-Term Neural Networks" ( Louise Ryan Award - $300)

2.    Fiona Scarff: "Using structural topic modelling to explore trends in museum research" ($200)

3.    Betsy Williams: "Design Assurance Test in the Dress Rehearsal for the Census of Aotearoa New Zealand" ($100)

5 minutes presentations

1. Melissa Middleton: "Combining multiple imputation and inverse probability weighting to address intermittent missing data in longitudinal studies with missing outcome data" ($200)

2.    Michael Nefiodovas: "Optimal Staffing of Classrooms with Demand Forecasting" ($100)

3.    Owen Forbes: "clusterBMA: Combine insights from multiple clustering algorithms with Bayesian model averaging" ($50)

People's Choice

Sherry Zhang: "Switching between space and time: Spatio-temporal analysis with cubble" (SSA t-shirt)

A big thank you thank you to cash prize sponsor Survey Design and Analysis Services (SDAS)!

Meet Australia’s Newest Superstars of STEM

Last Friday, Science & Technology Australia (STA) revealed the list of Australia’s newest Superstars of STEM – 60 diverse brilliant scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians who want to step into the media spotlight as science experts.

Congratulations to Clinical biostatistician and SSA member Dr Anurika De Silva for having been selected to be one of them! In her current position as a Biostatistics Research Fellow with the Methods and Implementation Support for Clinical and Health research Hub (MISCH) at the University of Melbourne, Anurika collaborates with researchers on the design, analysis and reporting of clinical studies, in diverse areas including anaesthesia, cancer, and pain. Her focus is to apply optimal statistical methods in clinical research while advancing the discipline of biostatistics, to generate robust evidence that will have high quality impact and change the society for better.

The new Superstars reflect the strong diversity of women and non-binary people in Australian science and technology - including three First Nations superstar scientists, six new Superstars from regional Australia, and Superstars from a wide array of economic, social and cultural backgrounds. 

The full list of Superstars of STEM can be viewed here.  

Read the full media release here.

New occupations added to ANZSCO - Now including Data analyst and Data scientist


On Tuesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released the ANZSCO 2022, Australian update to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). Six new occupations have been added to ANZSCO, taking the total to 1,076 occupations.

Four new emerging occupations were added, including Data analyst, Data scientist, Supply chain analyst and Regulatory affairs manager.

ANZSCO provides the basis for standardised occupation data and is used widely to inform and shape educational pathways, skilled migration programs and workforce strategies.

Read the full media release here

Significance - December issue out now!

As the FIFA World Cup 2022 gets into full swing in Qatar, the December issue of Significance sheds statistical light on events on and off the pitch. We dig into the data behind penalty shootouts and red cards, as well as the numbers behind worker deaths in the country whose human rights record has been so widely criticised. 

Fear not, football-phobics ­– this issue also investigates the role of machine learning in protecting vulnerable children, explains how stats can prevent blackouts, and celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Statistical Society of Australia, with profiles of four inspiring members past and present.

December issue highlights:

Penalty shootouts

How should managers choose which players take penalties? James Jackson analyses England’s painful defeat against Italy in the 2020 Euros. Could a more statistically rigorous approach to picking penalty takers have led to a different result?

Football’s “red card myth”
Football fans, pundits and even managers have long debated whether having a player sent off can actually make a team stronger. Matthew Dowsett takes a Neymaresque dive into the data

Human rights in Qatar
The human cost of the FIFA World Cup 2022 troubles human rights groups and football fans alike. However, measuring it is extremely difficult due to elusive, vague and misleading data sources on worker deaths, as Megan Price explains

Children’s social care and machine learning       

The idea that machine learning can improve children’s social care is attractive, but fraught with challenges – the veil of secrecy around predictive analytics in public services must be lifted, say Michael Sanders and Vicky Clayton

Energy forecasting – part one

We only notice our reliance on energy when our supply is disrupted. Amanda Lenzi and Mihai Anitescu answer six key questions on the role of statistics in energy 

And most importantly: The SSA is 60!

Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the SSA, with profiles of four members past and present 

Access the digital version of Significance through your membership portal. Print issues will be mailed to subscribers soon.

Significance is also online at

Mentioned in previous newsletters:

The SSA Mentoring SSA Mentoring Program 2023 - Now open for applications

The SSA is excited to invite you to participate in the 2023 mentoring program!
Open to all members of the Society, the program will connect early and mid-career statisticians with experienced mentors to provide them with career guidance and share their experiences to help them achieve their professional goals.
See here or the SSA Mentoring website to find out if you are eligible and for more information.
To register your interest please complete the form by Sunday 11th December.

The 2022 Tjanpi Award for Best Student Paper in Environmental Statistics

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2022 Tjanpi Award, the annual student prize for best student paper in environmental statistics, sponsored by the SSA Environmental Statistics Section.  Applications close on Thursday, 8 December 2022, 5pm AEDT. Find out more.

SSA Events

Statistical Consulting Network November Meet-Up

Friday 25th November, 12:30-1:30 PM (AEDT) 

Come along with your thinking cap, maybe a problem, and some lunch!

The Statistical Consulting Network invites you to their monthly meet-up, a virtual lunchtime meeting where statisticians help each other out with problems that they aren’t sure how to deal with.  This virtual meeting is held on Zoom at lunchtime on the last Friday of each month, 12:30-1:30 PM (AEDT). 

We will start each meet-up in the common room for announcements, or occasionally a special topic discussion, then go to break-out rooms in smaller groups to discuss problems that attendees have brought along with them.

Zoom link

Slack Workspace 
Find out more

WA Branch End of Year Function

Tuesday,29 November 2022, 6:30 PM

Fibber McGee's Irish Pub & Steakhouse, 711 Newcastle St, Leederville

The WA Branch are pleased to invite members and guests to our End of Year Function. This is our final event for 2022 and an excellent opportunity enjoy one another's company as the silly season approaches.

Join us for a festive three course meal -- subsidised for members and their guest. Payment will be taken on the night so please bring along sufficient cash.

Your first drink is compliments of the WA Branch with subsequent drinks purchased at the bar.

The restaurant is licensed and there is no BYO.

Register here

SA Branch November Meeting with speaker Associate Professor Arul Earnest

Wednesday, 30 November 2022, 6:00 – 7:00 pm (Adelaide Time)

182 Victoria Square, Flinders University, Adelaide, and online

5.30 pm: Refreshments and networking

6.05 pm: Seminar Presentation

To adhere with SA Health Covid Safe guidelines and maximum capacity of available facility, please inform us by email to if you are planning to attend the meeting in person.

7:30 pm: A dinner will be held for those attending in person. Please RSVP to

See event listing on SSA website

NSW Branch: 2022 Annual Dinner

5 Dec 2022, 7:00 PM (AEDT), Aerial Function Centre, UTS 

The afternoon begins with the 23rd annual J.B. Douglas Awards, followed by the Annual Lecture by Professor Marijka Batterham starting around 6pm, and then dinner from about 7pm. 

The 23rd J. B. Douglas Awards
Each year the J. B. Douglas award showcases NSW postgraduate students' research work. As usual, we will have several talks by research students nearing completion at NSW institutions. Nominees are still being finalised, we will send a separate announcement closer to the day.

2022 Annual Lecture
This year, we are very happy to have Professor Marijka Batterham, Director of the National Institute for Applied Statistics Research Australia and the Statistical Consulting Centre give the Annual Lecture. Details of the talk will be made available closer to the date.

2022 Annual Dinner
To register, please follow the link here. A discount is given to early career and student members.

Canberra Branch - Knibbs lecture 2022

6 Dec 2022, 5:45 PM – 7:15 PM (AEDT), in-person and on Zoom

SSA Canberra invites you to the 2022 Knibbs lecture, the final branch meeting of the year. This year, we are delighted to have Heather Battey from Imperial College London present in-person (and streamed online) on the roles of R.A. Fisher and D.R. Cox in the development of statistics. 

After the lecture, in-person attendees (and others if they so wish) are invited to join a dinner afterwards with the speaker. 

For more details click here

SSA Vic: Virtual social event

7 Dec 2022, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM (AEDT), via Zoom 

Come along to this December social event for a chance to catch up with other stat-minded individuals and have a chat about a range of topics the statistical community is facing/will face in the future. We will be joined by our current SSA President Ian Gordon and Vice President Jessica Kasza, and we have selected a handful of topics to get us started:

  • Statistics vs Data Science: Similarities and differences
  • Advances in statistics : Significant advances in recent years and future directions
  • The role of science communication in statistics: Should/how can statisticians be more involved in conveying statistical ideas to the lay population as a foundation for policy change (e.g., Covid)?
  • Statistical education: Should we change the way we teach statistics in higher education?
  • Statistical education: What can we do to improve the teaching and development of statistical curriculum in secondary education? 
We welcome you to suggest any additional topics that would be of interest to you, here! 

Drop in from 7pm to 8pm to have a chat and unwind after another hectic year. 

See you there!

Register here to receive the Zoom link

New dates!

The Necessary SQL - An Introduction to SQL with Daniel Fryer

6-February 2023, 9:00 AM (AEDT) – 7 February 2023, 5:00 PM (AEDT), Online via Zoom

This course is a gentle, fast paced introduction to SQL. Their objective is to build a strong foundation and intuition for SQL programming, with an emphasis on retrieving and transforming data in a robust and testable manner. The course is suitable for beginners with no prior programming experience, but includes plenty of additional material for experienced programmers that are new to SQL. 

For more information and to register click here.

Save the date: ASC and OZCOTS 2023

10-15 December 2023, University of Wollongong, NSW

Find out more

Other Events

AMSI Summer Careers Day 2023

16 Jan 2023, 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM (AEDT), Melbourne Connect, 700 Swanston Street, The University of Melbourne, Parkville

Cutting edge research, stock markets, finance, energy, education, even cosmetics industries - careers in the mathematical sciences come in all shapes, colours and sizes!

Chat to organisations including MECCA, Optiver, AGL, CSRIO's Data61, Reserve Bank of Australia and APR.Intern at the 2023 Summer Careers Day and discover the variety of career pathways for maths, stats and data science grads.

 This is a FREE in-person event open to ALL tertiary students.

 Light refreshments will be provided.

Find out more and register here

Current positions in SSA's Career Centre

Senior Research Fellow in Biostatistics

New South Wales

University of New South Wales

2-Year Fixed Term, Full Time (35 hrs/week) opportunity ...

Lecturer in Mathematical Sciences


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The School of Mathematical Sciences at QUT is ...

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Statistical Data Science


Queensland University of Technology

The School of Mathematical Sciences at QUT is ...

Research Fellow in Biostatistics and Epidemiology


University of Sydney

2 x Full time, 2 year fixed term positions with ...

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Business Analytics

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University of Sydney

Full time continuing; two vacancies availableOpportunity ...

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