AMSRO Polling Inquiry 2019

Inquiry members

Advisory Board

AMSRO has established an independent Advisory Board with diverse expertise in relevant areas for the Inquiry Panel to draw on for broad strategic guidance and input.

The role of the Advisory Board is to: review and comment on Inquiry Terms of Reference; review and provide (non-binding) comments on Inquiry Panel reports (including preliminary reporting, if any); provide input to the Inquiry Panel on additional relevant lines of inquiry.

AMSRO has also invited a Publisher representative from each of Nine Entertainment (Sydney Morning Herald/The Age) and NewsCorp to participate in an advisory capacity as part of a special Reference Group.

The Advisory Board comprises:

Dennis Trewin

Dennis Trewin AO

Former Head of The Australian Bureau of Statistics

Dr Trewin was Australian Statistician (Head of the ABS) from 2000 to 2007 and is a survey statistician of international renown.

Ian McAllister

Ian McAllister

Distinguished Professor of Political Science, ANU

Professor McAllister is recognised as an international expert on opinion polling.

Travyn Rhall

Travyn Rhall

Former Global Chief Executive of Kantar

After training as a statistician, Mr Rhall spent a decade in statistical consulting at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, before embarking on a career in applied (commercial) market research. He was a Director of Newspoll for several years. His last full-time executive role was Global Chief Executive of Kantar Insights which operated in 70+ countries with revenues of over A$3.5 billion.

Kerry O'Brien

Kerry O’Brien

Journalist and author

Foundation editor and host of the ABC’s national 7.30 Report, foundation host of Lateline, host of Four Corners and anchor of the ABC’s federal and state election night coverage for more than 20 years.

Inquiry Panel

The Inquiry Panel will plan and conduct the Inquiry including required timing; gather evidence; conduct the Inquiry; compile the report and recommendations.

The Inquiry Panel itself will be impartial, independent and focus on key issues (methods, processes, techniques, trends) potentially impacting the accuracy of political polling in the lead up to the 2019 Australian Federal Election. The objective is to conduct a transparent assessment of what, if anything, should be done to improve the accuracy of political polling in Australia. The focus is on achieving collective, collaborative improvement where required, with any evidence, gathered to be ‘masked’ wherever possible in the Inquiry report. Processes, techniques and the environment within which polling is conducted are under scrutiny, not individual polling organisations.

No individuals currently working for Australian polling organisations may sit on the Inquiry Panel or Advisory Board, and members of both are required to sign NDAs in relation to the material they see as part of the Inquiry.

The Inquiry Panel is Chaired by Darren Pennay, the founder and immediate past-CEO of The Social Research Centre (SRC), one of Australia’s leading social research organisations, and part of the Australian National University.

Members of the Inquiry Panel include:

Darren Pennay

Darren Pennay

Inquiry Chair - Former CEO of The Social Research Centre

Professor Murray Goot

Emeritus Professor of Politics at Macquarie University

A leading expert in public opinion polling, voting behaviour and politics

Dr Phil Hughes

Asia-Pacific Head of Statistical Consulting – Engine

One of Australia’s most experienced and respected survey statisticians

Mr John Stirton

Independent and widely respected polling expert, who ran the Fairfax Poll between 1997 and 2014.

Dr Paul Lavrakas

Internationally renowned expert in survey methodology and survey error, specifically in relation to public opinion research.

Dr Jill Sheppard

Lecturer in the School of Politics and International Relations, ANU, with special research expertise in political behaviour (voting, participation, and attitudes).

Dr Dina Neiger

Chief Statistician, The Social Research Centre. Accredited Statistician, Statistical Society of Australia.

Patrick Moynihan

Associate director of international research methods at Pew Research Center and previously senior polling analyst for The American Broadcasting Company (ABC).

Professor Patrick Sturgis

The London School of Economics, who headed a polling inquiry after the 2015 UK General Election.

Associate Professor Kristen Olsen

Associate Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Kristen is a Fellow at the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and worked on the 2016 US Polling Inquiry.

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Darren Pennay

Darren Pennay - Inquiry Panel Chair (Former CEO, The Social Research Centre)

Pennay said: “The focus of the review will be to objectively assess the quality of the polling data by looking at the techniques and processes employed across the different polling organisations. But the approach needs to be broad and comprehensive, without any a priori assumptions about what, if anything went wrong. We need to adopt a purely evidence-based approach. We also need to examine the role of the media in communicating polling findings to the public.

“It’s important to note that the Inquiry will not be focused on assessing the relative performance of individual polling companies, but rather on practices and processes in use across the industry. We will aim to mask or de-identify the polling companies’ data, and Panel members will sign non-disclosure agreements. The Inquiry aims to deliver an evidence-based approach to find ways to improve the processes and methods of political polling in Australia, so all companies can operate with a full appreciation of contemporary best practice.”