Who’s to blame for the bungled Census?

The Census is back online after a 48-hour shutdown.

Who’s to blame for the bungled Census?

With the 2016 Census debacle declared to be over, attention now turns to who was responsible for the epic failure that inconvenienced millions of Australians.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) head David Kalisch made a brief statement to the press yesterday, apologising for the mishap but declining to take questions.

He declared that the Census was back online, stating the ABS was “on track to conduct a high-quality online census”. But some people were still experiencing technical difficulties last night, receiving the message: “This site cannot be reached”.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull expressed his dismay at the Census failure, removing blame from his ministers and placing it squarely on the ABS and IBM – the corporation that was paid $10 million to provide the online Census service.

“I know people have said to me, ‘will heads roll’? Which heads roll where and when will be determined once the review is complete,” said Mr Turnbull. “Right now, my objective, as Prime Minister, is to ensure that the site is back up, it should be restored today, that is the advice I have as of a little while ago and that when it is restored the protections that ought to have been in place are in place.”

Mr Turnbull blames IBM as service provider, saying that Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks were inevitable and that the IT giant should have been more prepared.

"Part of the job of the service provider, in this case IBM, was to ensure that there were measures to repel denial of service attacks,” said the PM. "The fact is the measures that were put in place were inadequate."

Labor has attacked the Government for passing the buck to the ABS for the Census failure, calling the bungled Census "one of the biggest shambles in government".

“The Census happens every five years. It costs hundreds of millions of dollars. There are ministers responsible for the Census,” said Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. “Now we wake up Thursday morning and Malcolm Turnbull and his whole Liberal-National ministry frontbench, none of them are apparently responsible for anything. How can it be?”

Mr Turnbull believes that the attacks appeared to be coming from the United States, but did not confirm that it was a US-based entity that was responsible for the breach.

"It is relatively straightforward to be able to route traffic using virtual private networks and other techniques through the US," he said. "That will be investigated."

The ABS has stated that any personal information submitted has not been stolen.

Read more at The Guardian.

Who do you think is responsible for the Census failure? With the PM’s prediction that DDoS attacks were inevitable, do you think more should have been done to ensure the Census’ smooth operation before sign-off?



    To make a comment, please register or login

    12th Aug 2016
    ULTIMATELY the buck stops with Talkbull! He is the ONE in charge and should cop what has happened - NO ONE ELSE! He stuffed up the census AND the NBN AND our Age Pensions. He is "supposed" to be the PRIME Minister and therefore the ONE who takes the FINAL responsibility for those who are in HIS charge! But, watch and see how he tries to slither out of this one, how well greased his slippery motions will be to put the blame on others and have ANOTHER bozo to take the fall - just like another KRudd or Juliar. All from the same crook mold, or should I say "mould"?
    12th Aug 2016
    The first head to roll must be Talkbull's and he must not be allowed to slither out of this like a owardly flip-flop weasel
    Old Geezer
    12th Aug 2016
    Why blame anyone? As it was the first time it was done online there was bound to be problems.
    12th Aug 2016
    The 2016 Census has been a mess from the start and the relevant minister Michael McCormack and his boss Malcolm Turnbull should be held responsible.

    First we were told they would be keeping our names and details for 4 years instead of 18 months. Why was that necessary? Did they explain? Not well enough to convince numerous politicians like Xenophon and others it seems. Then they told lies about the safety and security of our details if we did it online. Not true as we now know and over 2 million of us who completed it before the shut down on Tuesday night are left wondering if our information has been compromised. Those who phoned for a paper copy found the lines jammed and inadequate. Then they told us all we would be fined $180 a day if we didn't complete it on the 9/8. That was extended only days beforehand but there would have been many trying to post their net form off on 9/8 who did not know the extension existed and were worrying and staying up late to try to get it posted because the ABS didn't tell people they had closed the site down until late evening. Everyone was kept hanging. Finally, we were given contradictory explanations (lies?) for the shocking mess that occurred on Tuesday night and typically Malcolm Turnbull indulged in a blame game to avoid any responsibility being landed on his government.

    Not good enough Malcolm Turnbull and Michael McCormack!
    12th Aug 2016
    From my humble citizen's point of view I think our pal Mal should take a look at how he has bungled and dumbed down the NBN so that we are still waiting .... waiting .... for the inferior fibre to the fridge sized node in our street (maybe we can paint pictures on it), so much for a tech savvy PM. As for Abbott who was worried about 11 year olds out-smarting him if they were taught coding, his slashing of IT budgets that may have seen a more successful census has not helped.
    Ireland is having a census this year but decided not to go online because of the cost. We decided to do it anyway, without an adequate budget.
    I feel sorry for David Kalisch having to take the heat for what has been a politicised agenda all along.
    12th Aug 2016
    Done online Tuesday evening, fast and easy, printed off receipt
    12th Aug 2016
    I guess you are in minority.
    12th Aug 2016
    I did it Sunday but didn't submit it then on case something changed. Tuesday eve could not submit. Worked yesterday. Not worried about data as none was accessed. I don't have any secrets that would be on ABS files. Census questions are pretty tame.

    12th Aug 2016
    I had the census papers a week before and completed it then why wait.
    If it has been buggered who really cares?
    12th Aug 2016
    robbo, we did ours online early, too, and with a bit of apprehension of the timing. Then we see the balls up the government made of it and realise there is NO conscientiousness whatsoever in the political ranks. They couldn't give a stuff!
    12th Aug 2016
    Robbo, the reason for waiting is that we were told to complete it Tuesday night. A matter of data integrity. What if you completed it early then were not where you planned to be Tuesday night? How about if you passed away unexpectedly before Census Day? They wanted it filled out Tuesday - just stuffed up the mechanics. On yet bike Mal. How many stuff ups do you expect to get away with?
    12th Aug 2016
    I am afraid it is little of no consequence to me the Government send it to me I fill it out one less bit of rubbish out the way.

    Batara you would have to be mad to fill it out on Tuesday as all the other meatheads that tried to do that stuffed the system and that would not be hard to anticipate.
    I am a punting man and backed myself not to croak on that day.

    12th Aug 2016
    Freaking debacle from start to finish...Cannot see a thing wrong with the old arrangement.
    12th Aug 2016
    This is Malcolm's "Innovation Initiative" - great, isn't it? The guy would ruin a junkyard.
    12th Aug 2016
    Just tried to do my census this morning and guess what it wont load. The census page say that " JavaScript is required to use this online form. Please enable JavaScript on your device or for assistance call the Census Inquiry Service on 1300 214 531. [code 950]'. I did my fathers on Tuesday night using Chrome and it worked OK now it doesn't.
    Tried to use Chrome, Windows Edge, Explorer 11, Opera and even tried using the browser in my Asus Tablet all to no avail hope they are not paying IBM.
    To be fair politicians and department heads are not I.T. professionals they rely on advice from so called experts in this case IBM,although you dont have be be I.T. savvy to realise that expecting a system to stay active when millions of people are going to access it during a short time is asking for trouble.
    I suppose we will have to wait for the next installment.
    On a more serious note given this debacle how accurate is the census going to be for future planning it may be prudent to abandon this census and provide a paper form at a later date.
    12th Aug 2016
    It's not our fault or IBM's that Malcolm failed to deliver a real NBN - any NBN for that matter. Ha Ha Ha!
    12th Aug 2016
    Your computer doesn't have Java? Is that Iike not having Acrobat?
    Big Kev
    12th Aug 2016
    Turnbull is fortunate to have the census after the election otherwise we would have a different government. Come to think of it isn't the census normally held in July. IBM are getting a track record for failing to test properly. We only need to look back to the Qld Health payroll debacle. Any government that employs them should make sure there is a clause for suing them for epic fails!
    12th Aug 2016
    Can we move on??
    12th Aug 2016
    Yes, please!
    12th Aug 2016
    Yes please let go and have a beer on our local.

    This Census is all F/up so lets have fun we are to old now ..... I gave up with the Gov. They can do whatever they want just leave our pensions and super alone ......

    Have a nice cold one ....you lot
    16th Aug 2016
    That's the attitude today though isn't it? Just move on regardless of the consequences. Let's just move on.

    Stuff the planet, the oceans, people's lives but that's yesterdays news.

    Let's just keep moving.

    Don't fix things or consider any consequences. That's so last night.

    12th Aug 2016
    It is so delicious when idiots like Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) head David Kalisch make announcements and proclamations about anything, and particularly security, when it is buried in a fog of PR spin then they get caught with their pants down and try to make it better by making it worse.
    If only corporate narcissistic psychopaths could speak for themselves now and then it would be so refreshing.
    There is a lesson here for MALCOLM! Do not speak with a forked tongue - we are on to it like a flash.
    12th Aug 2016
    The site is still not operating. I tried just now and all I get is "Problem loading page".
    12th Aug 2016
    The ABS invited the crash by stating that nothing could crash the online Census. No self respecting hacker could ignore that invitation?
    12th Aug 2016
    This is good thing that happened. It should be a wake up call for the politicians who are selling off everything to China.
    12th Aug 2016
    Our system is called "Responsible Government", so the government and the Parliament are responsible for the debacle.

    They are the ones who have cut billions from the public sector while adding millions to the population they serve.

    They are the ones with the "small government" rhetoric that creates an expectation in voters that they can have everything for nothing, and the rich and corporate contribute nothing.

    They are the ones who have lied consistently for years now, about the role of government.

    They are the ones who have engaged in continuous propaganda rather then informing the electorate.

    They are the ones who preselect drones, party hacks, and ideologues for seats in Parliament, then do nothing when they are complete failures.

    They are the ones who have put their fellow travellers into key positions instead of public service professionals who know what they are doing.

    They are the ones who have made all the competent people redundant, and sent them overseas or private to earn a living.

    They are the ones that have made life impossible for any civilised human being with a value for the public interest over private benefits.

    The Turnbull government has claimed a 'mandate' to keep on trashing our system of government. Why be surprised when it happens.
    12th Aug 2016
    Well put,
    Polly Esther
    12th Aug 2016
    Everybody please, deep down Mr Turnbull is really trying hard, to pass as a Prime Minister that is, so lets cut him some slack and give him a break, the left leg perhaps. :-)
    12th Aug 2016
    oh please polly, he's been round and round the circles in and out of Parliament, he knows how the balls roll, he should have been on Guard, and wiser for it.
    He seems he has lost traction. For its hard to please a party and the ppl as well!!! and there the problem lies.
    And i'm sure he doesn't know about his party members all he should know, but he should have been making mental notes then he may hav learnt something useful???
    12th Aug 2016
    God help Australia and our kids,i hope they can speak Mandarin.
    12th Aug 2016
    lol the only aussie i know that can do that is KRudd, and look they won't even back HIM. Bull should be ashamed of himself. :(
    12th Aug 2016
    Not necessary mandarin .... have you seen the latest report ?????
    China is about number 6 in the foreign investment in Australia
    1 - USA 860 Bill
    2.- UK 499 Bill
    3.- Belgium 238 Bill
    4 - Japan 199 Bill
    5 - Singapore 98 Bill
    6 China 74 Bill

    So maybe brush up on the English and learn the USA slang that way they will understand

    So really The China Syndrome is a another political Myth
    13th Aug 2016
    The foreign register is a secret and not available to the public
    and i have family works for ausgrid and if any foreign company owns it they have control of nsw. and can shut us down when they wish
    14th Aug 2016
    Who do you think owns the USA Aussie.
    Not a Bludger
    12th Aug 2016
    Why do we not follow the lead of UK and Canada (amongst others) who have stopped having a Census - would save heaps of money,time and angst all round to say nothing of solving all privacy concerns.
    12th Aug 2016
    I beleive we still need the census, especially for security reasons, and if nobody has done nothing wrong, they have nothing to fear mmm.?
    And look at Uk going down the gurgler i reckon anyways.
    Cause i'm sure they have seen better times.
    and Canada, well its a VAST Vast Country you could really get lost in if you wanted too. They could harbour many crims and not even know it.
    Trust me it could come back to shoot them in both their feet in due course!!!
    12th Aug 2016
    Totally agree with you, buby.
    14th Aug 2016
    Wrong AGAIN Not A Bludger,
    Canada just completed their Census in August and will hold the next in 2021
    Britain hold their Census every 10 years, the last being in 2011.
    It's oxygen thieves like you that post dribble as if they are facts.
    Disco Diver
    12th Aug 2016
    I did my Census a week before the 9th. Centrelink, ATO and Immigration already has most of this information.
    12th Aug 2016
    Disco Diver,
    That is not the point the point is the possible intrusion on our private info from foreign hackers and has happened ....maybe they will hack the Centrelink info too ?????? soon

    If a Hacker get all your info that can be sold to the underworld and identity theft or accounts intrusion or birth certificates and many other stuff can be compromised.

    Sorry mate but this is the reality of today world
    13th Aug 2016
    Disco Diver
    yes they do but ask yourself if politician dont want to put their personal details on it they may know something we have not been told
    ask yourself centrelink, ATO, imigration etc do not ask how many bedroom you have. in germany people with spare rooms have been asked to take in invaders, and the last few days i think it was denmark people with holiday homes also have been asked to take in invaders also.
    14th Aug 2016
    Have you done the Census Marls, nowhere are you asked how many bedrooms you have.
    Only 54
    12th Aug 2016
    How comforting it is to see that Australia is still full of rampaging "shoot first, ask questions later" whingers who love nothing more than looking for someone to point fingers at and blame. I'm no apologist for politicians, or the ABS, or anyone, but just maybe we should get the facts first.
    14th Aug 2016
    Don't be silly Only 54, without the oxygen thieves and morons posting their dribble, where would we get a laugh.
    12th Aug 2016
    How predictable are most of these comments. It must really feel good to heap manure on the Prime Minister for every and all reasons. I guess given the the chance you lot would blame him for the 30 years war as well. Get a life........
    12th Aug 2016

    Whilst I dislike the man just as intensely as most of you here do, this debacle is NOT the Prime Minister's fault.

    Yes he is currently Chief Executive of Australia Ltd, but the fault lies fairly and squarely with the Bureau of Statistics, no-one else.

    The Government and Parliament appoints the head, and authorises funding. That is the sum total of their role. It is then up to the Bureau to do what the relevant legislation requires them to do. ie collect statistics, to assist in building the nation, for want of a better term.

    On occasions, it will be necessary for the Bureau to approach the relevant Minister for approval to do something outside of their remit as outlined in the Legislation. Moving the Census to online was such a case, and we are told that it went to the Government of the day and was approved. This was the Labor Government, not the current Government.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with moving the Census online, after all most of us manage to use Facebook, or have a bet at the TAB. Non computer people could still get the paper form.

    12th Aug 2016
    He LEADS a team that plain and simply stuffed up, AGAIN - just like with the NBN. He and his deplorable team are also stuffing up Age Pensions! The people on this site are venting their feelings as they do not like what he is doing and how he's is ruining retired peoples' lives! If you don't like it bugger off and don't read the comments. Go back to your Candy Crush or something brilliant like that which you can understand.
    12th Aug 2016
    Haven't you learnt anything oldie 82 you mustn't have a different opinion to some of the contributors on this site, theirs is the only opinion that counts, they rely on their bullying comments to constantly try to put other contributors off giving a different perspective, maybe they are the ones that should bugger off and find something to play with instead of themselves.
    14th Aug 2016
    Your pretty close DIM, I think you will find they have been playing with themselves too often.

    12th Aug 2016
    Who really cares if you fill out the census or not I am only interested in filling out forms that make me money such as Taxation Forms plenty of money there to be made.
    12th Aug 2016
    Lets have New Federal Elections Oppppps we make a mistake let's do it again and repair the mistakes maybe vote Green ????? or Pink ????
    12th Aug 2016
    Pink is too much like the red which is in office now.
    12th Aug 2016
    Yes Fast Eddy correct ....

    I just been nice but we are in a real mess.
    I have never seen the country in such a mess like we are now with so many problems and Big Crime issues all over especially Melbourne and Sydney and so much drugs .... Incredible and extremely dangerous

    I have been in Bangkok no long ago and feel more safe than in Melbourne or Sydney ..... in BKK you can walk alone and no problems ..... in Sydney and Melbourne is now very dangerous to just walk around after 6 or 7 pm

    But we accept lots of foreign people without proper checks ??? not sure maybe Pauline Hudson has the right idea ??? maybe for a few years may be Ok ..... not sure but something have to be done and very drastic changes have to be implemented ASAP
    12th Aug 2016
    Aussie, when there is a special law enforcement arm formed (the Middle East Organised Crime Squad) you know that people from this part of the world must be bad enough and in great numbers to have this action taken by government. Then we have illegal pseudo refugees flooding the country, i.e. those from Africa (primarily Sudan) in the Apex gang in Melbourne. The refugees who are being detained offshore who are self-mutilators claiming to have been attacked in order to gain entry to Australia. Why shouldn't the ability to speak, write, and read English be a requirement to immigrate, along with having a guaranteed job here before entering, and enough money in the bank to support yourself for 6-12 months, and NO criminal record?? Yes, I do hope the likes of the One Nation Party CAN do something about this problem. Pauline Hanson has more balls than most of the current male politicians and is not afraid to state the truth of this country's condition, and it is NOT good! The LNP is sending us down the toilet with their no policy government, trying to impoverish Age Pensioners, squandering taxpayers' dollars, letting riff-raff enter the country, borrowing money they can't pay back, and doing this while they fill their own pockets with ridiculously high salaries and super and retirement benefits that are outrageous for doing next to nothing while in office. I used to vote Liberal, but NEVER will again unless I can see SOMETHING positive being done to get this country off the path to the ruin where we are being herded by the LNP. These are dangerous, inept, self-centred people who care only for themselves, their country second. God help us!
    12th Aug 2016
    Fast Eddie,

    Yes mate agreed with you ...
    When I where in Bangkok I learn that in Thailand if you are a foreign person you will never be a resident or citizen unless you spend many many years with long term visa.

    As foreign in Thailand you will have a maximum of 12 month visa and must have about $30,000 dollars on the bank also you have to report to Immigrations every 3 month and must be endorse by a Thailand citizen.

    So no foreign person scape the law in this country and they have to be on their best behaviour at all times.

    If you do not leave the country within the visa dates you will pay 500 Baht x day ($20dollars) and if you are 90 days over then you will not enter the country again I think for 1 year ....1 year over then 5 years and more and more

    Foreign people are totally check out at all times and you must walk around with your passport (May be a copy)

    We need similar stuff in Australia to control all the crime of foreign people like the APEX .....We still living in a dream world and everybody is taking advantage of us .... but we are the do good at all times .....shit lets do bad bad bad maybe we will be safe
    Old Geezer
    12th Aug 2016
    I had no intension of doing the census online on Tuesday as I just could see how the system was going to cope with so many people attempting it at once. Bandwidth would have to have been huge to cope with that sort of traffic.

    Got a paper form here so I'll try it online when the dust settles but if it fails I'll just send in the paper form.

    Why should anyone take the blame? First time was bound to have teething problems.
    12th Aug 2016
    Just tried again 4.49pm friday 12/08/2016. still no connection. Rang help line, Yes sir it is working here in Sydney. I will send out paper forms for you, Thank you, more cost to blow the budget for ABS. What a joke !!!
    13th Aug 2016
    A very good article explaining the stuff-up:

    Code Red: How the Bureau of Statistics bungled the 2016 census - Sydney Morning Herald
    www.smh.com.au › Politics › News
    August 13 2016 - 12:54AM;
    15th Aug 2016
    turnball should be hung out to dry everything he sticks his nose in is stuffed up then this clown wants to bring in electronic voting give us a break i never did the electronic census and are still waiting for the paper forms to arrive then they employ people to go around and deliver and pick up the forms so why do they have to be posted out another liberal government stuff up they will have to have another census because of the complete stuff up typical.
    Not Senile Yet!
    16th Aug 2016
    You cannot convert to electric/computerisation overnight.
    It simply doesn't work...and the past has shown that in many areas!
    How hard would it has been to phase it in by using Postcodes and gradually implement change?
    As for the Blame Game.....who really cares beyond the fact that they are wasting our taxes?
    And who were the big winners...Private Enterprises supposedly saving the taxpayer money....but in reality freeloading as the expense blows out!
    As for retaining data beyond statistics.....what a croc!
    No need for Personal info...it is a Census.....Names and Personal Details were added without consultation.....without people having a choice!!!
    Lost Me!
    Simply Big Brother attitude...We want it so you will supply it or we will fine you!!!
    Living in the 80's in year 2016.....The ABS does not have the authority to change the system just because it feels like it! Nor doe the Government!
    The days of Penalty or else are Numbered......people need to be rewarded for doing the Right thing......Not Punished!
    Lookout next election.....Party Puppets who think their current performance is okay.....may be in for a rude shock!
    Get Up and Others are mounting serious challenges to the Corrupt Party System.....and extreme Right or Left Views by the Libs or Labor & Greens might just be challenged by removing their Power by removing their Party Puppets!
    16th Aug 2016
    I bet anything the criminals and illegals don't fill in a census form or even appear on one. Only the innocent and guilt free take this sort of thing seriously.

    I have to laugh when anyone quotes our population size as there are many more people here than 23 million.

    Besides the government has blown the wealth by selling off all public assets and paying way too much for private contractors etc.
    There is no money for public services or goods anyway so knowing where all the 'good' people are is a bit pointless.

    Another waste of money for a previous first world nation currently going broke.

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles

    You May Like