The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) suffered a significant blow to its credibility when the Census website crashed last week. It is back up and running but only 40 per cent of Australian households have completed the survey.
So what happens now?
The ABS was forced to shut down the Census website on Tuesday night after a spate of attacks which resulted in blocked access to the site. It took 40 hours for the website to be restored but the questions of what went wrong and who is responsible are yet to be resolved.
Among the issues considered in an Inquiry launched by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, is why the website had insufficient protections against such an attack.
The responsible party is yet to be identified, with the Prime Minister saying, “Which heads roll, where and when, will be determined once the review is complete.”
The website is up and running, but is it safe?
The Federal Government has denied ABS claims that the Census website was shut down by hackers, suggesting instead that it was blocked intentionally in order to protect users’ data.
Since the Census is compulsory, all Australians are required to complete it. In an update on its website on 11 August, the ABS apologised for the inconvenience and thanked “everyone affected for their patience and helping shape Australia’s future”.
The ABS has assured the 2.33 million Australians who managed to complete the form that their data is “secure at the ABS”.
How long do you have to complete the survey?
Concerned that Australians will forget to complete the form in the wake of all the hubbub, the Government launched a TV ad last night to remind those who have not completed the Census to do so.
Australians have until 23 September to fill out the survey or risk a $180 fine for each day it’s late. You can also be fined $1800 for supplying misleading information.