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Bureau of statistics an independent body and only parliament can sack its chief

MALCOLM Turnbull wants heads to roll after last week’s Census shemozzle, but he might not be able to wield the axe himself.

The Prime Minister might need the assistance of Labor, but Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has already nominated Mr Turnbull as a bungler of the first order.

The problem for the government could come should Australias chief statistician, David Kalisch, appointed in December 2014, be criticised in its review of the census controversy.

Mr Kalisch is the $700,000-a-year head of an independent statutory body and only a vote of Parliament can get rid of him.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is not a department where the person in charge operates at the pleasure of the minister and the Prime Minister.

It has a protected status as does, for example, the Australian Electoral Commission so it can do its work without fear the government will interfere.

That status is one reason why the Abbott government could not sack Australian Human Rights Commission head Gillian Triggs, with whom it was unhappy last year. It could only request her to quit and Ms Triggs declined and still has the job.

There is no evidence Mr Kalisch will be held to account for the census muck-up but, if that is the finding of a review, the Prime Minister would need the support of Labor and the Greens to get a dismissal through Parliament.

No government minister has said Mr Kalisch will be blamed.

I know people have asked, will heads roll? Which heads roll, where and when will be determined once the review is complete, Mr Turnbull said last week.

The difference between an independent body and the government is that the statutory agency can make recommendations, but only a government can implement them.

So long as these bodies do not exceed their legislative authority, it is the job of the other arms of government, and particularly the executive, to respect their processes, University of Sydney social policy professor Danielle Celermajer wrote in The Conversation in February last year.

This does not mean elected governments have to agree with their findings or implement their recommendations.

This distribution of power between the statutory authority, which is charged with making assessments of what the law requires, and the Parliament, with the mandate of passing laws or changing policy, is a central part of the apparatus of democracy.

Buying your first car how to earn that valuable set of car keys

A CAR is often a teenager’s first big purchase in life and can also provide a great opportunity for parents to drive home some top gear financial lessons.

Simply handing over the keys to a new or second-hand set of wheels is not a good idea, financial planners say.

Having your child contribute at least some of their own savings towards a car will go a long way to teaching them about the value of money and saving, says AMP financial adviser Darren James.

Offering to dollar match what they can save, or even a percentage of what they can save, will make their savings goal seem more achievable, he says.

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Parents who dont have the financial firepower to help out can still give teenagers guidance about saving money from part-time work and setting up direct debits into a separate savings account, James says.

Amanda and David Carruthers helped daughter Chelsea, 16, buy her first car this year by offering to match every dollar she saved from her casual job with a dollar of their own.

We said to her from the word go that we would pay half, Amanda Carruthers says. The result was a $3000 Mitsubishi Lancer just before Chelseas 16th birthday.

Carruthers believes it is important for children to pay for at least part of their first car. It makes kids more responsible and take a little more pride in something they own when they know that they worked hard for it, she says.

Catapult Wealth director Tony Catt says a first car can deliver big life lessons including developing discipline to save and managing risk through insurance.

Some parents have made the kids pay board, but they ultimately put that board towards a car, he says.

It boils down to parents values and what are they trying to instil in their kids.

AMPs James says the first step for parent and child is to have a budget in mind and create a short list of potential vehicles.

Dont worry about what friends are doing for their kids just focus on practical choices for your childs needs and your familys budget.


1. Choose a car that will minimise ongoing costs.

2. Keep it simple small or mid-size sedans and hatchbacks from mainstream brands.

3. Consider who will pay for the cars running costs.

4. Examine insurance is it cheaper in the parents name with the childs name on the policy?

5. Buy used a teenager does not need a new car even if they want one.

Source: AMP