NATSEM Seminar Series

The Annual NATSEM Address

Wed 13 November 2019Dennis Trewin AO FASSA / 5pm for a 5.30pm startAnn Harding Conference Cenre

Please click here to view the PowerPoint slides used by Dennis Trewin.


Each year since 2015, the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) at the University of Canberra invites an influential thinker to deliver a NATSEM address. As a Centre that aims to inform Australian social and economic policy, this address seeks to get people in our community thinking about big policy issues affecting their everyday lives.

In 2019, we have the pleasure of Dennis Trewin AO FASSA, and former Australian Statistician, who will be talking about measuring wellbeing.

Historically GDP has generally been used for a measure of national well-being although it was never designed for this purpose. The Australian Bureau of Statistics was the first national statistical office to publish an alternative approach with its Measures of Australia’s Progress (MAP) publication first released in 2002. This attracted global interest and an invitation for me to be a keynote speaker at OECD’s first World Forum entitled Statistics, Knowledge and Policy. Discussions at the Forum led the OECD to begin its Beyond GDP initiative which has, in turn, inspired a number of countries and jurisdictions within countries to look at alternative ways of measuring progress on well-being with some going as far as incorporating measures within their budgetary process (eg New Zealand). The ACT Chief Minister has recently announced that it will be developing a set of indicators of well-being indicators to enable an assessment of Government performance with the Chief Minister releasing the proposed indicators on Canberra Day 2020.

The address will describe the primary methods for measuring well-being (composite index of well-being indicators, suite of indicators as was used for MAP, and adjusted GDP) with real examples of all methods both nationally and internationally. The address will illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of each approach and discuss the underlying conceptual and statistical frameworks.

Whilst GDP is a necessary measure to understand national well-being, some Australian examples will be used to illustrate why it is clearly not sufficient. The address will conclude by discussing the role of national statistical offices in these initiatives.

For catering purposes, please register.

Click here to download the event flyer.

Dennis Trewin AO FASSA
Dennis Trewin was the Australian Statistician and head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics from July 2000 until January 2007. Prior to that, he was Deputy Australian Statistician and, from 1992 to 1995, Deputy Government Statistician in New Zealand. He has been working as a statistical consultant on assignment with a range of countries and with the UN, OECD and World Bank.

Dennis has held a number of other positions such as an Australian Electoral Commissioner, an Associate Commissioner at the Productivity Commission for the study into the Not for Profit Sector, and a Trustee and Board member for the Australian Government Superannuation Fund. He has been Chairman of the Advisory Board of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Chairman of the Policy and Advocacy Committee of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia and the Australian Mathematics Trust. He is or has been an Adjunct Professor at Swinburne, Curtin University, University of Canberra and the University of the South Pacific, and a Council Member of the University of Canberra. He has been recognised as an Officer in the Order of Australia, received a Centenary Medal for his contribution to statistics and an honorary doctorate from James Cook University.

Internationally, Dennis has been President of the International Statistical Institute and the International Association of Survey Statisticians. He was Chairman of the Global Executive Board for the 2005 round of the World Bank's International Comparison Program.


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