Roundup: Time we took a closer look … at us


There are lies, damned lies and then statistics, the old saying goes. And then, to compound the mendacity, there’s what politicians and journalists do with them.

I love stats.  My favourite joke is: “The world is divided into two kinds of people, the kind who divide the world into two kinds of people and the kind who don’t.”

Can you trust statistics? City of Sydney did an interesting survey into the attitudes of apartment residents  last year.

However, when I started noticing that certain figures didn’t add up, they admitted that the figures had been “adjusted” to take into account the fact that fewer renters, and therefore young people, and investors, who were not around to be interviewed, had contributed.

Yeah … look, it’s a valid statistical tool to say that the various proportions of respondents didn’t match the actual proportions of apartment residents, so they’ve dialled these figures up and those ones down to make it more “accurate”.

But even so … it kind of feels wrong.

Some people will tell you apartment dwellers are just an average cross-section of society. If that’s the case, and you live in a largish strata scheme of about 100 units with 200 residents, there’s a few things you should know.

Latest from the Flat Chat Forum

After a fairly quiet week the forum is buzzing again and I have to say, sometimes you can be a bizarre bunch of people.
  • What can a tenant do about a bossy committee member? THAT’S HERE.
  • Can we tell residents to take bubble wrap off their windows (yes, really)? THAT’S HERE.
  • Can our committee rescind a by-law that we didn’t really think about before passing it? THAT’S HERE.
  • Is renovating a neglected garden maintenance or adding to common property? THAT’S HERE.
  • What can and should we do about a unit sub-let to Housing NSW tenants? THAT’S HERE.
  • Former tenant had NBN installed in the right place for them but wrong for us. What can we do? THAT’S HERE.
There are even more odd questions, and the occasional strange answers, on the Flat Chat Forum

For a start, if the stats are right, there are about four people who have committed criminal offences in your block.  Think about that the next time you can’t be bothered to lock up your bike.

On the other side, 17 people in your building will have been the victims of personal fraud although only one or two will have suffered identity theft.

Half of your neighbours will have been exposed to some sort of scam and about four of them will have responded to the initial approach either by supplying personal information, money (or both), or by seeking more information.

Nationally, according to some surveys, one in 15 people are LGBT or, indeed, I. Now I think those figures are way too low for my building – you can tell by the number of pugs.

But it got me wondering if there are different gay and lesbian apartment blocks.  You know they way people from the same ethnic groups move into the same area.

Jings and crivvens, what goes on in a bi-sexual block of a Saturday night doesn’t bear thinking about.

So, anyway, I reckon it’s time we had a definitive survey into the attitudes of people who own, rent, live or invest in strata all across NSW.  And I think it’s really important that I don’t do it because I don’t have the time, money, intelligence or time to do it.

But hey, Victor Dominello loves a stat.  Come on Minister – get some of that stadium money back from Stuart Ayres and tell us how interesting we really are.


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