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As the ARIAs celebrate Australian music, it’s falling out of the charts

Related Story: The pop charts are lacking an important element: Australian music

The ARIAs are almost upon us for another year, with Amy Shark and Courtney Barnett leading the nominations to take out one of the premier awards for Australian music.

But as the industry celebrates its own, there remains concern about how to boost it in the digital age.

Last year, no Australian artist had a number one single in this country. This year, so far, we have had two — 5 Seconds Of Summer and Dean Lewis.

It's a similar trend across the top 50, with just six of the songs in last week's singles chart coming from an Australian act.

Numerous factors have been blamed, from the rise of streaming sites like Spotify and Apple Music, where popular playlists may be curated overseas, to the amount of Australian music played on commercial radio.

As a Federal Government inquiry looks at what can be done to boost Australian music, here's the state of play over the past two decades.

Exter..

Related Story: The pop charts are lacking an important element: Australian music

The ARIAs are almost upon us for another year, with Amy Shark and Courtney Barnett leading the nominations to take out one of the premier awards for Australian music.

But as the industry celebrates its own, there remains concern about how to boost it in the digital age.

Last year, no Australian artist had a number one single in this country. This year, so far, we have had two — 5 Seconds Of Summer and Dean Lewis.

It's a similar trend across the top 50, with just six of the songs in last week's singles chart coming from an Australian act.

Numerous factors have been blamed, from the rise of streaming sites like Spotify and Apple Music, where popular playlists may be curated overseas, to the amount of Australian music played on commercial radio.

As a Federal Government inquiry looks at what can be done to boost Australian music, here's the state of play over the past two decades.

A chart showing the number of Australian songs to reach number one over the past 20 years. External Link: Chart of the day: Australian hit songs over two decades

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Australia

What gets your goat about your employer? There’s a survey for that

One of the main themes of work in advanced market economies is the increasing focus on non-manual work — the office job, for example.

People in non-manual jobs typically do not produce physical things (ie engage in productivity that can be measured). Nor do the majority join a union, which can act as their voice in times of uncertainty or when they feel poorly treated.

Thus, measurement of work and workplace issues — or the general office climate, or culture — has become increasingly more complex.

But organisations still need to be able to identify how engaged and committed their workforce is, and the general climate — or atmosphere, or culture — in which they work, oh and also what about management really gets their goat.

Enter the corporate survey.

Written well and administered with timeliness, these surveys can provide a useful set of data with insight around workplace issues, employee engagement and climate of the workplace.

Alternatively, they can irritate and staff, especia..

One of the main themes of work in advanced market economies is the increasing focus on non-manual work — the office job, for example.

People in non-manual jobs typically do not produce physical things (ie engage in productivity that can be measured). Nor do the majority join a union, which can act as their voice in times of uncertainty or when they feel poorly treated.

Thus, measurement of work and workplace issues — or the general office climate, or culture — has become increasingly more complex.

But organisations still need to be able to identify how engaged and committed their workforce is, and the general climate — or atmosphere, or culture — in which they work, oh and also what about management really gets their goat.

Enter the corporate survey.

Written well and administered with timeliness, these surveys can provide a useful set of data with insight around workplace issues, employee engagement and climate of the workplace.

Alternatively, they can irritate and staff, especially when they're under the pump, and worse render them even more doubtful about management's care factor.

How to find the goldilocks effect

So, what do we in the field of human resources mean by timely and well written?

In terms of being timely, it is the goldilocks effect. For management, too many surveys and you end up with form fatigue and silence rather than voice; too few and the data is of little use, as the immediacy and representativeness of the information is diminished.

For the employee, too many surveys can be frustrating, as it can indicate a culture of managers being seen to engage with the workforce rather than actually doing so.

A well-timed survey should build on the detailed findings and actions of the previous survey in an appropriate timeframe.

That survey didn't work. Try this

A woman looks downcast while on her computer in an office

What we mean by well written is that the survey exacts quality data from (busy) staff.

We can offer two examples to illustrate this.

One organisation called us in to help develop a survey, and we found the questions to be self-serving to management, uncritical and not at all useful in identifying key issues.

Not only was a lot of time and money wasted, but imagine how frustrating it must be for employees who have taken time and effort to respond to the survey, only to see that their input is not accurately captured or responded to?

Try telling the workforce that the survey was junked because it was not very well structured — but here is a new one to try! The damage is done.

Is it a survey or a PR stunt?

A second organisation undertook a detailed and quality-based "climate" survey, only to find that the results were so poor and damning of the culture and the management that they actually chose to ignore the results.

This was admitted by management when challenged on what they had done to address the issues, just as the next survey emerged.

It was quickly seen by the workforce as a PR stunt and following surveys had such a poor response rates (silence) that they were abandoned. Of course with no changes in how the workplace operated were made.

In other words, the climate survey actually made the climate worse!

The wisdom of crowds

Google employee in New York office

An emerging change we are seeing in internal climate studies in the 21st century is what we understand by the notion of timeliness and response.

As noted, in an increasingly dynamic work environment. If the time between surveys is too long, the climate or issues may have changed.

Here, the solution may be internal social media which can provide immediate responses to questions asked. This provides the workforce with a sense of genuine interaction with management (and the organisation), and is used by IBM, HP and Deloitte.

The logic is based around the concept of the wisdom of crowds, where algorithms can aggregate individual communications in a workplace to allow management to respond in real time to the main issues emerging.

Also, individual judgements are averaged, resulting in the common opinion typically being more accurate than most individual estimates. A bit like estimating the number of jelly beans in a jar — the average of all estimates is often very close to the actual answer.

This type of platform has the potential to foster engagement in authentic dialogue between management and the workforce, in real time.

These expressions of voice can provide key insights for organisations that take a genuine learning approach to employee surveys and engagement.

Done properly (and with the appropriate resources), this approach conveys to employees management's perceived willingness to engage openly, in real time, and deal with issues important to them.

Furthermore, this allows for critical discussion of issues with employees.

Are surveys worth it?

In this new era of electronic platforms the rules need to be set. It not a case of jumping on the social media to make a point or venting your spleen about an issues at work.

To be effective employees need to understand how to use it effectively, and management needs to resource it to respond within the appropriate timeframe.

So when assessing whether surveys are worth the (electronic) paper they are written on? Well, the answer depends on how well they are developed, for what purpose and how it's being resourced.

To this end, the answer is both Yes and No.

Peter Holland is a professor at Swinburne Business School; Dr Tse Leng Tham works out of Monash University's Department of Management.

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Alcohol and cigarettes stolen: Police appealing for information

POLICE are appealing for information relating to a break and enter at a business in Trangie. Orana Mid-Western Police District officers report that the incident occurred on Friday morning. “A large amount of alcohol and cigarettes was stolen from the location,” officers said. Orana Mid-Western Police police officers have urged the public to contact them if they have any information in relation to this or other incidents. “If you know anyone selling alcohol or cigarettes on the cheap or acquiring a large amount of alcohol please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or 6883 1599,” officer said. Indoor pool at Dubbo Aquatic Leisure Centre high priority: Shields Medical care always available in Dubbo over Christmas, New Year West Dubbo park redeveloped with more inclusive equipment

POLICE are appealing for information relating to a break and enter at a business in Trangie.

Orana Mid-Western Police District officers report that the incident occurred on Friday morning.

“A large amount of a..

POLICE are appealing for information relating to a break and enter at a business in Trangie. Orana Mid-Western Police District officers report that the incident occurred on Friday morning. “A large amount of alcohol and cigarettes was stolen from the location,” officers said. Orana Mid-Western Police police officers have urged the public to contact them if they have any information in relation to this or other incidents. “If you know anyone selling alcohol or cigarettes on the cheap or acquiring a large amount of alcohol please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or 6883 1599,” officer said. Indoor pool at Dubbo Aquatic Leisure Centre high priority: Shields Medical care always available in Dubbo over Christmas, New Year West Dubbo park redeveloped with more inclusive equipment

POLICE are appealing for information relating to a break and enter at a business in Trangie.

Orana Mid-Western Police District officers report that the incident occurred on Friday morning.

“A large amount of alcohol and cigarettes was stolen from the location,” officers said.

Orana Mid-Western Police police officers have urged the public to contact them if they have any information in relation to this or other incidents.

“If you know anyone selling alcohol or cigarettes on the cheap or acquiring a large amount of alcohol please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or 6883 1599,” officer said.

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Fact check: Are carbon emissions coming down in Australia?

The claim
During a recent episode of the ABC's Q&A program, former Liberal minister Amanda Vanstone claimed “emissions are coming down” in Australia.

Her comment came a few days before a major UN climate summit, COP24, held in Katowice, Poland.

Other panellists on Q&A contradicted Ms Vanstone, saying emissions were rising. This prompted many viewers of the program to call on RMIT ABC Fact Check to investigate Ms Vanstone's claim.

The verdict
Ms Vanstone's claim is misleading.

Latest federal government figures suggest that although greenhouse gas emissions have fallen over the past 10 years, emissions started trending upwards again about four years ago.

The upturn, since 2014, has coincided with the Abbott government's removal of the carbon tax.

Also, while emissions from electricity production have been falling, the decrease has been outweighed over the past four years by rising emissions in other sectors of the economy, such as transport, where emissions are ..

The claim

During a recent episode of the ABC's Q&A program, former Liberal minister Amanda Vanstone claimed "emissions are coming down" in Australia.

Watch Ms Vanstone make the claim on Q&A

Her comment came a few days before a major UN climate summit, COP24, held in Katowice, Poland.

Other panellists on Q&A contradicted Ms Vanstone, saying emissions were rising. This prompted many viewers of the program to call on RMIT ABC Fact Check to investigate Ms Vanstone's claim.

The verdict

Ms Vanstone's claim is misleading.

Latest federal government figures suggest that although greenhouse gas emissions have fallen over the past 10 years, emissions started trending upwards again about four years ago.

The upturn, since 2014, has coincided with the Abbott government's removal of the carbon tax.

Also, while emissions from electricity production have been falling, the decrease has been outweighed over the past four years by rising emissions in other sectors of the economy, such as transport, where emissions are associated with increased LNG production for export.

Emissions can be measured in different ways: for example, as total emissions or emissions per capita or per GDP.

In the past year, Australia's total emissions have been rising. But emissions per capita or per dollar of real GDP have been falling, mainly due to Australia's rapid population growth.

However, it is worth noting that Australia's progress in cutting emissions under its international obligations (the Paris Agreement) is measured by changes in total emissions rather than by other measures.

As one expert put it: "The atmosphere doesn't care how many people are contributing to emissions; it's the total quantity of emissions that matters."

The context

Ms Vanstone made her claim during a discussion on Q&A about a protest by Australian schoolchildren titled 'Strike 4 Climate Action'.

She was speaking about the climate policies of Australia's two major political parties, and in the broader context of greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on the environment, as perceived by young people.

A close-up of a tarnished car exhaust pipe

Ms Vanstone did not specify which kind of emissions she was talking about. Nor whether she was referring to simple totals or ratios.

Fact Check invited her to clarify this. She said she had not been expecting to talk about emissions: "I can't tell you that I had a particular tight construct in my head at the time," she said.

"I think I was just making a general remark about emissions generally over a long period of time."

Fact Check considers it reasonable to assume that her claim refers to Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions over the past 10 years — the length of time examined by the Government's most recent report on emissions.

What others are saying

Ms Vanstone is not alone in claiming emissions in Australia are decreasing, though other speakers have been more specific.

Liberal senator Linda Reynolds, also on Q&A, said carbon emissions per capita and by GDP were at their lowest levels in 28 years.

Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price also highlighted this low in a press release announcing the Government's latest quarterly emissions data.

The eight chimneys of the Hazelwood power plant.

Nonetheless, she acknowledged that total emissions had risen over the year to June 2018.

Others have also pointed to the rise in total emissions.

Labor senator Lisa Singh, another of the recent Q&A panelists, argued that "emissions have continued to go up since 2011".

And on ABC radio the same week, Richie Merzian, the climate and energy director for think tank the Australia Institute said: "For the last four years, Australia's greenhouse gas emissions have been increasing."

Measuring emissions

The Australian Department of the Environment and Energy collects and publishes a series of reports and databases, known as the National Greenhouse Accounts.

The accounts track greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 onwards, and fulfil Australia's international reporting obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Kyoto Protocol.

Quarterly reports, released as part of the accounts, track total emissions as well as emissions by sector, per capita and per GDP.

The latest report, released three days before Ms Vanstone's Q&A appearance, provides estimates of Australia's national inventory of greenhouse gas emissions up to the June quarter of 2018.

The report examines emissions produced by eight sectors: electricity, stationary energy, transport, fugitive emissions (for example, leakages), industrial processes and product use, agriculture, waste, and land use, land use change and forestry.

External Link: Emissions in Australia over time by sector.

Emissions from electricity production are falling

The report shows emissions in the electricity sector have fallen by 3.6 per cent in the year to September 2018.

This was driven by a 13 per cent reduction in brown coal supply and a corresponding 14 per cent increase in supply derived from renewable sources, it says.

But emissions from other sectors, such as transport, have been rising.

Hugh Saddler, an honorary associate professor at ANU's Crawford School of Public Policy, told Fact Check:

"Significant increases in emissions from petroleum and diesel consumption in transport, and gas consumption associated with LNG, have outweighed the decrease in emissions from the electricity sector."

What's going on with total emissions?

Over the year to June 2018, Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions rose in each quarter, according to the report.

Specifically, seasonally adjusted total emissions rose 1.3 per cent in the June quarter and by 0.6 per cent in the year to June 2018.

While emissions have fluctuated over the past four years, they have been trending upwards since late 2014, as the graph below shows. The data shows emissions have risen 5 per cent over this time.

External Link: Total Australian emissions over time.

Emissions touched their lowest point in March 2013, but have since rebounded to 2011 levels.

Under the Paris Climate Agreement, Australia has committed to a reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions of between 26 per cent and 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

According to the national greenhouse audit, total emissions are down 11.7 per cent on 2005 (the Paris Agreement base year) and 7.5 per cent since 1990 (the base year for Kyoto Protocol calculations).

External Link: Emissions have been on the rise in recent years. External Link: Emissions decreased more consistently under the former Labor government.

Why are people saying emissions are falling?

As shown above, total greenhouse emissions when measured quarterly over the past year, or by trend data over the past four years, have been rising.

So, why are some people arguing that emissions are going down?

Because, when emissions are measured per capita or per dollar of GDP, they are lower. This is because Australia is experiencing rapid population growth.

The Department of the Environment and Energy highlights this fall in both the preface to its latest quarterly greenhouse report and on its website.

The report states that emissions per capita and the emissions intensity of the Australian economy were at their lowest levels in 28 years, falling 37 per cent and 60 per cent respectively since 1990.

External Link: Emissions in Australia over time by sector.

Are emissions per capita and per GDP useful measures?

Put simply, no.

Dr Saddler said focusing on emissions per capita was meaningless, since the measure used in international agreements was the more crucial total emissions.

"The atmosphere doesn't care how many people are contributing to emissions; it's the total quantity of emissions that matters," he said.

Professor David Karoly, an internationally recognised expert on climate change, said the emissions per capita was a useful measure when it allowed for country by country comparisons.

"The Australian per capita share at the moment is higher than any other developed country in the world — higher than the US. Yes, it's coming down, but it is still the highest."

Both Dr Saddler and Professor Karoly confirmed the fall in emissions per capita and GDP were due to rapid population growth in Australia.

Experts assess the claim

Professor Karoly said if Amanda Vanstone's claim was made in reference to total Australian emissions, "they are going up".

He noted that the start of the recent rebound in emissions from mid-2014 coincided with the dumping of the carbon tax by the Abbott government in July of that year.

Professor Mark Howden, the director of ANU's Climate Change Institute, told Fact Check: "I think it is correct to say that Australian emissions were coming down, but are now rising steadily."

He said an argument could be made that emissions have come down, given they are lower now than at their peak between 2005 and 2008.

"However, this is a problematic argument," he said.

"Under the current mix of policies and economic activities, emissions are clearly not coming down but instead are rising steadily."

Pep Canadell, a senior principal research scientist in the CSIRO Climate Science Centre, and the executive director of the Global Carbon Project, suggested that 1990 was a good reference year for gleaning a long-term view of changes to emissions.

"Good annual data only starts from 1990, which is the reference year of the Kyoto Protocol and why the Government started the good quality data then," Dr Canadell said.

Emissions per capita have fallen 37 per cent since 1990.

However, Dr Canadell added:

"Given Ms Vanstone's statement is present tense, I disagree [that emissions are falling]. According to the data, emissions have been going up since 2013, with ups and downs, and, if anything, accelerating recently."

Principal researchers: Sushi Das, Ellen McCutchan

factcheck@rmit.edu.au

Sources

Thank you to all the Q&A viewers who requested this fact check:

External Link: Fact check request on Q&A External Link: Fact check request on Q&A External Link: Fact check request on Q&A External Link: Fact check request on Q&A External Link: Fact check request on Q&A External Link: Fact check request on Q&A External Link: Fact check request on Q&A External Link: Fact check request on Q&A External Link: Fact check request on Q&A External Link: Fact check request on Q&A External Link: Fact check request on Q&A External Link: Fact check request on Q&A External Link: Fact check request on Q&A External Link: Fact check request on Q&A External Link: Fact check request on Q&A

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