11.08.2016

Inadequate advice to PM contributed to Census embarrassment


Revelations that the Australian Bureau of Statistics “did not give appropriate advice” to its minister about the problems on Census night are “extraordinary”, thinks former senior public servant and businessman Graeme Samuel.

There are reports today that by the time Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tweeted “We filled in the @ABSCensus tonight online — v easy to do” at 7.17pm, the ABS had been battling attacks on the Census website for over nine hours.

Just 28 minutes later the ABS shut down the site, pushing the exercise into further disarray in an effort to avoid a potentially disastrous data leak. Yet it wasn’t until 8.10pm Minister Michael McCormack was finally informed. About twenty minutes later McCormack told Turnbull what had been occurring.

“It seems to me extraordinary” that the ABS did not notify its minister when it new something was going wrong earlier in the day, the incredulous former ACCC chair tells The Mandarin.

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