Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Friday, 27 October 1905

Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania) - Nothing I have heard from the Minister has induced me to alter my opinion, but, having gone into the matter a little more closely, I think that I am now able to suggest why we see this table in the schedule. It is quite clear to me that these very eminent Statisticians have found, after the census figures have been ascertained, that they have not corresponded with their estimate of arrivals and departures. To put it in other words, they have discovered that there were more people in a State than there ought to be. Having made that discovery, they have said : " Some of these people ought not to be here ; there must be some error."

Senator Keating - It was the other way round in Tasmania at the last census.

Senator CLEMONS - What I suggest is the only possible explanation. They found that there were more people according to the census than there were in the island, and that some of the people must have gone away. Then they said : " More people must have gone away by sea than we gave credit for." They are silent on the question of arrivals. They do not say that more people must have arrived than they have accounted for. They see their error, and they put it right by assuming that they have not fully accounted for all the departures. In the case of Tasmania they add 12^ per cent, -to the total number of recorded departures. Although these persons are eminent Statisticians, and one of them, Mr. Johnston, of Tasmania, a Statistician for whom I have the greatest regard, I am not prepared to accept such a proposal. I point out that' at' the conference one or two interesting things occurred. I find, from the minutes of the conference for Wednesday. 23rd September, that -

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed. The' figures for Queensland were supplied by Mr. Hughes, and the tabulated returns of the various States presented by the Chairman, 10 per cent, being added to recorded arrivals and departures by land.

The minutes then record the percentages of unrecorded departures to recorded departures by sea, and I find there was no method whatever of arriving at unrecorded departures except by ascertaining the original extent of their errors. I am not prepared to accept that. It is somewhat significant that later on Mr. Hughes stated that -

He had given further consideration to the percentage to be added to the Queensland departures by sea for the unrecorded departures, and concluded that nine was too low.

The Chairman - Mr. McLean, the Victorian Statistician - expressed the opinion that the percentage for Victoria was possibly too low, but being a very good State', he did not suggest an increase, " not having sufficient information at present." The candid and frank Mr. Hughes expressed the opinion that the population of Queensland was slightly over-estimated, and he was prepared to admit that the percentage adopted for that State was too low. Mr. McLean, while admitting that the "Victorian population was over-estimated in the same way, was not prepared to admit that the percentage adopted in Victoria should be increased. That is the way in which these eminent Statisticians have arrived at their calculation, and we are asked to adopt a similar plan. I am not prepared to do so, and while I do not wish to interfere with schedule A in other respects, I move -

That paragraph 5 be left out.

Senator Keating - The result will be that we shall have our enumeration different from the estimates of the States from year to year.

Senator CLEMONS - Before I sit down, I again direct the attention of the Committee to the fact that the Statisticians say that they must add something to their estimates of unrecorded departures, and I really cart see no reason whatever why they should adopt that course in the case of departures and not in the case of .arrivals. Why should there be a percentage added to the estimate of unrecorded departures by sea, whilst the estimate of arrivals is taken to be absolutely accurate? I am perfectly certain that the course adopted was agreed to as a rough and ready way of balancing their account. I ask the Committee to help me in refusing to adopt such a rough and ready method of calculation.

Suggest corrections