Inquiry needed into Census "debacle”: Elliot
RICHMOND MP Justine Elliot has labelled last night's Census a "huge debacle" and called for a full investigation into the failed national survey.
Mrs Elliot said her office had been inundanted with calls and emails since last night, when residents were unable to fill in their Census forms electronically.
The census website was shut down by the Australia Bureau of Statistics last night, subsequently blaming the failure on a series of attacks by foreign hackers.
Mrs Elliot said she was particularly concerned for the Tweed's many elderly residents.
"The whole thing has been completely mismanaged by the government," Mrs Elliot said.
"They have had years to plan for it and it has caused a lot of distress, particularly with a lot of older people not receiving their forms or receiving them late."
Mrs Elliot said an inquiry was needed to get to the bottom of the disaster.
"I think now we need to have a very thorough investigation into all of it because people had a lot of concerns, especially with not being able to even access the site last night," she said.
"I've had a lot of people contact me last night, a lot of emails to the office this morning, this really has been a complete disaster for the government.
"We've seen some pretty serious budgetary cuts there, we've seen the position of the chief statistician left vacant for more than a year, we've had job losses and the result of that has been this massive debacle which has caused, understandably, a lot of concern right throughout the community."
However, Mrs Elliot, who was herself unable to complete the Census last night, urged residents to remain patient and complete the form when able.
"It is really important to be getting all of this data in terms of using it for future planning," she said.
"But we really need to be seeing the minister and the government taking responsibility for this."
Mrs Elliot's comments come as Labor called on the minister responsible for the botched census, Michael McCormack, to resign, saying a re-run was not out of the question.
Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh was furious the government failed to properly explain its decision to take the national survey online.
"If you can't get the census right how can you govern the country," Mr Leigh told ABC radio this morning.
In a press conference in Canberra today, Mr McCormack denied the national survey had been "hacked" or "attacked", instead labelling the situation "an attempt to frustrate the collection of data".
He said people should rest assured their data was safe.
The ABS released a statement around 11.30pm on Tuesday advising the website was unavailable. It reassured Australians they would not be fined for not completing the census on Tuesday.
The website was still not online by noon on Wednesday.