by George Nott

Heads roll at IBM for Census debacle, say reports

Sep 21, 2016
Government IT

Two senior IBM staff have “resigned with immediate effect” following the Census debacle, according to reports.

The news follows the call from Malcolm Turnbull that heads would roll, made in a press conference on the day following Census night.

“My prediction is that there will be some very serious consequences to this,” Turnbull said at the time.

IBM Global Technology Services, the Census’ service provider, have reportedly replaced the departed staff with senior executives from IBM’s Asia Pacific services business.

IBM had not returned requests for comments at the time of publication.

The Census website was unavailable for days after it was pulled offline by Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Census night last month.

The ABS blamed denial of service attacks originating from overseas for the outage and said it had closed down the system to ‘ensure the integrity of the data’.

Last week, the prime minister’s special cyber security advisor, Alastair MacGibbon said the fiasco would have a “lasting impact” on the public trust in the government to deliver digital services.

MacGibbon said he had spent the last “happy month” investigating the “failure” of the delivery of the census. He has been leading a government-commissioned review of the incident. There is also a Senate inquiry into the 2016 Census.

IBM has been tight lipped following the debacle, but eventually made a statement days after census night.

“We genuinely regret the inconvenience that has occurred,” a spokesperson for the company said at the time. “We want to thank the ABS, the Australian Signal Directorate and Alastair MacGibbon for their continued support.”

IBM won the $9.6 million contract from the ABS to host the Census in 2014.