December 27, 2003


"In the midst of plenty," writes Sydney Morning Herald misery editor Adele Horin, "Australian children go hungry because their parents cannot afford enough food, a new survey shows." She continues: "Some children miss food for an entire day while their parents regularly skip meals, or do without themselves." And furthermore:

The survey is part of a continuing investigation into "food insecurity" in NSW. It showed two-thirds of respondents went hungry at least once a month because they could not afford enough food. Asked if their children had ever gone hungry, 40 per cent of parents said they had.

Almost one-quarter of the adults had gone without food for a whole day every month in the last year. As well, nearly 8 per cent reported their children had not eaten for at least an entire day within the past year because the household had run out of food.

To which survey does Adele (whose story ran at the top of page three in yesterdayís SMH) refer? This one:

The survey was conducted in October and November by Anglicare Sydney, the Anglican church's welfare arm. Interviews with 133 people were conducted at Anglicare's three emergency aid centres in Marrickville, Rooty Hill and Wollongong.

So out of 133 poorest-of-the-poor in some of NSWís poorest areas seeking emergency aid over two months (evidence in itself of the extent of Australia's poverty "problem"), 60 per cent said their children had never gone hungry, three-quarters of adults hadnít gone without food for a whole day every month, and 92 per cent reported their children had eaten every entire day within the past year because they hadnít run out of food. Adele Horin doesnít know good news when itís standing right in front of her, screaming at her uncomprehending face.

Posted by Tim Blair at December 27, 2003 12:08 AM

Not only is this good news, but the worst of the worst missed mabey one meal per month...

but come to think of it, sitting here in my California apartment---- when I think of Australia, I almost always think: MASS STARVATION!!

I've got to thank Adele for confirming those thoughts..

Posted by: Arvin at December 27, 2003 at 12:44 AM

At least they aren't having long lunches with EXPENSIVE WINE.

Posted by: Yobbo at December 27, 2003 at 01:50 AM

About 2 years ago - maybe it was only a year - a similiar poll was cited here in the States. 25% of children went hungry once a month. It's bullshit on its face. The publicity about the poll also did not have the desired effect - more money for welfare. Then the "obesity epidemic" news took over.

So I guess all those fat people are taking food from 25% of American children, causing the poor children at least one day a month of hunger. But hey! They're THIN!

Posted by: grayp at December 27, 2003 at 02:24 AM

Of course they forgot to ask the logical follow-up question to the parents whose children went a day without food. That question would be: In the month your children went without for at least one day, did you do any of the following:

a) Buy cigarettes.
b) Buy beer.
c) Buy a lotto ticket.
d) Buy any food at a fast-food outlet.
e) Buy any food at the over-priced convenience store across the street from your house, rather than humping it the 12 blocks to the mega-huge supermarket.

I'm willing to bet you'd get a "yes" to at least one, if not more, of those.

Posted by: David Crawford at December 27, 2003 at 03:01 AM

You've got to pity lefties like Adele Horin.

Those nasty right wingers keep solving problems, which causes her supply of victims to dry up.

Posted by: wv at December 27, 2003 at 10:37 AM

Jeez, I went hungry two days ago. For two hours I was gut-cramping, drooling, watchout-for-your-leg-grandma starving. Then they finally had the gravy made, the cracklin crackling, the stuffing stuffed and the animals carved. But for two hours this country should have felt shame. I was hungry.

Posted by: slatts at December 27, 2003 at 10:52 AM

The other day I was short of cash, as I hadn't been to the bank, and I was too busy to get there in my lunch break. So I was forced to work through and go hungry till dinner time.

I am clearly the poorest of the poor.

Posted by: Alan Anderson at December 27, 2003 at 11:21 AM

The article clearly shows why it should be a capital crime to "interpret" statistics without providing the supporting (or in this case, refuting) raw data

Posted by: Harry Tuttle at December 27, 2003 at 03:14 PM

i think Adill Whorehan's scratching to meet her quota of stories at the SMH.

Posted by: roscoe.p.coltrane at December 27, 2003 at 05:07 PM

without providing the supporting (or in this case, refuting) raw data

Tim did not provide any statistics that were not included in the original report.

Posted by: Robert at December 27, 2003 at 06:54 PM

Your point, Rob?

Posted by: tim at December 27, 2003 at 09:26 PM

Just that while you can complain about her interpretation of the figures, you can't complain that she didn't provide the data from which she drew her conclusions (which Harry suggested).

Posted by: Robert at December 27, 2003 at 09:36 PM

She didn't supply any raw data, Rob, as Harry mentioned. There was no panel including the exact questions asked, etc. His point is a good one.

Posted by: tim at December 28, 2003 at 03:01 AM

I had a big breakfast the other day and didn't have anything until supper. I missed a meal. By the criteria set by one study, I was one of the "Hungry in America".

Posted by: Donnah at December 28, 2003 at 06:26 AM