The great Australian Census fail

It might not come as much of a surprise, but Australia was down for the count on August 9 after

It might not come as much of a surprise, but Australia was down for the count on August 9 after the online census system crashed.

You might have done your Census early — we wish we had — but for many who held out until the evening of Tuesday, August 9, largely considered ‘Census Night’ there was extensive website problems and when frustrations boiled over the hotline became overloaded with calls.

It appears that as of the morning of August 10, only 1.3 million Census surveys have been successfully completed. Not exactly a glowing report for the country’s first online census, and those who were subject to the poor online performance took to social media to complain.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics was quick to acknowledge the dilemma, posting a notice on its Twitter account advising Australians that “the ABS and Census websites are currently experiencing an outage. We’re working to restore the service. We will keep you updated. Thank you” before encouraging callers to the hotline to wait until Wednesday “when (they) expect calls to reduce”.

You’d have to wonder if the bulk of those calls are panicked Australians wanting some assurance that the online stuff up isn’t going to cost them $180 a day in fines.

You’d also have to wonder why the ABS made the call to move away from a perfectly functioning census survey process (i.e. the paper form) in the first place, as this year’s Census has been fraught with contention from the get-go.

Were you able to complete the 2016 Census on Tuesday, August 9? How did you find the online experience? Do you have concerns about your privacy?

  1. George J.  

    Rang Census line last Sunday.
    Got straight through.
    It was an automated response.
    I advised my ‘Census number’, which I’d received by snail-mail, to have PAPER FORM posted to me, which I was advised would take 5-7 days!

    Excellent service!

    There’s NO WAY I was inputting information required online.

    Now, as SBS computer system so easily crashed, although many ABS personnel said ‘it’ll handle it, no worries’,
    maybe in 2020 Census, ABS will revert to ‘dropping off’ a paper form to every household, as was done successfully, previously, since 1911!

    Aaah! Technology, don’t ya just ‘love’ it!…….NOT!

  2. Ian Stocks  

    This article is more anti govt rubbish. The system failed due to deliberate attacks by unknowns so they shut it down. Very sensible. I had no trouble with the whole exercise before the shutdown and no problem answering all the questions including my name etc. I have nothing to hide.

  3. Maree Bloxham  

    I lost my log in details so I rang and they answered the phone immediately, looked me up, texted me the log in details to my mobile as a security detail, and by 6pm I had completed my census online without any trouble.

  4. June Parker  

    I completed the census online last night. It was easy and problem free.

  5. Pamela  

    The same people who said your personal information would be safe also said the site wouldn’t crash! 😛

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