When dealing with statistical bureaus (bureaux?) such as the UK's Office of National Statistics or the National Audit Office, it seems appropriate that all data should be delivered dispassionately.
In other words, the bureau prepares and releases the data, and allows others to interpret it.
In that context, I thought it a little odd to receive this short tweet from the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday:
It all looked normal enough until the use of the "!".
So I thought I'd take a look at the overseas arrivals data and take a squiz at what they're on about (click chart).
Despite many arguing that the Aussie dollar is perhaps 30% overvalued for the longer term on a fundamental purchasing power parity basis, it was indeed Australia's busiest February on record for short-term arrivals.
Of course demographics is a complex beast and as a general rule, the long-term and permanent arrivals figures are of more interest to those trying to understand where the country is heading.
As you'd expect, permanent and long-term arrivals are a seasonal data set and so the figures tend to bounce around a lot, although the trend is clear (click chart).
For that reason, it makes a lot more sense to view the data on a rolling 12 monthly basis (click chart).
So, there you have it.
In raw figures, in the 12 months to February 2014, there were some 774,710 permanent and long-term arrivals into Australia.
This is not quite a record high, as you can see on the chart, for back in January 2013 the rolling annualised figure tipped 790,000.
Nevertheless, with permanent and long-term departures from Australia only tracking at around 381,000, the net position is a tremendously strong inflow which now acts as the main driver for population growth.
Australia is in the fortunate position of being able to selective in its visa issuing process. A lot of people want to live here, and the annual population growth is tracking at around 400,000 persons per annum.
The clear implication of this is that Australia needs to get building housing and infrastructure at a faster rate than has been the case: dwellings and public housing, new suburbs and parks, schools, hospitals, shopping centres, public transport, rail and light rail links, new roads, telecommunications, broadband connections and many other utilities.
It's going to be a fascinating decade or two ahead.