#CensusFail: Thousands hit by failure of ABS site

PEOPLE across the country have just filled out their census form online for the first time - only to have the site tell them it can't accept their entry.

Now the site where the census is based - http://www.census.abs.gov.au/ - has crashed altogether. 

And hours after Tuesday night, when people were meant to fill out the survey, the Census site remained down.

The ABS tweeted late on Tuesday night that the site would not be coming up again for their big night of nights.

Just before 6am on Wednesday, our checks found us still unable to login.

The ABS said on Wednesday morning, its site had been hit by international hackers.

Some had complained they had spent 'hours' trying to submit their information.

Others said they were going back to pen and paper.

Many said they would have to try on another day - but were frustrated they had probably lost all their submission and would have to start all over again.

What was meant to be 20 minutes' of time, according to the government, will be much longer for most.

Scott Payne was scathing on Facebook on Tuesday night.

"Well, it was announced on local radio this afternoon, by the head of the ABS himself, that the census website would not crash, and they would not have possibly contemplated going live to millions of Australians if the system was going to crash,'' Mr Payne wrote.

"Well, at 7:46pm tonight, I am unable to access to census website, because, guess what, it has crashed!

"Despite numerous assurances that the system would be stable, and various threats of fines if the census is not completed, the system has, predictably, crashed!

"For the last 15 minutes I have been unable to fulfill my national duty and give the government the vital information it needs about my family.

"I have no doubt that the decision to go live with an internet based system to millions of Australian families simultaneously in a country with sub-par internet infrastructure was made by some moron public servant in Canberra on over $250k per year, and I am also in no doubt that their staff, particularly their IT staff, would have advised them against such a decision.

"Oh well, keep trying I guess, hopefully I'm in bed by midnight!"

 

 

A spokesman from the Australian Bureau of Statistics earlier denied the site had crashed when contacted by Australian Regional Media.

"We've just hit peak period," he said.

"We'd advise people to try back again in 15 minutes."

But later the ABS acknowledged there was a major issue.

But the Twitter stream of abuse continued into the night.

The troubles began about 5pm as several people trying to file their form were hit with a message that said a "code 31" error had occurred.

A spokeswoman from the ABS said work was happening to try and restore the service.

"We have experienced an outage because of everyone logging in at the same time," she said.

"We'd ask people to wait a few minutes and log back in."

The Turnbull government said it had become aware the census website had crashed and the minister responsible Michael McCormack has contacted the ABS for a briefing.

While the census is supposed to be a snapshot of the nation tonight, a spokesman for the minister told The Australian if people could not get on the website they had until September 23 to complete the census questions.

 

Meanwhile, the ABS has assured people they will not be fined $180 a day if they were unable to fill out their survey, because of not getting a code, or a form or other issues.now.

A lot of people have reported not receiving the ID needed to fill out the online form in the mail and no doubt the census field officers will miss some properties tonight.

The Head of the Census Program, Duncan Young says people have until September 23 to fill it out online.

"If you haven't received your Census material, don't worry. You can complete the Census after August 9 - you still have plenty of time and you won't be fined for being late," Mr Young said today.

  "Simply contact the Census Inquiry Service on 1300 214 531 or via our online contact form.   "To avoid expected long phone queues, please call after August 10.

  "Just be sure to complete the form as if it were Census night as soon as possible.

"Census Field Officers will begin visiting households that have not completed the Census from late-August to ensure that everyone can take part."

 Those travelling overseas don't have to complete the Census.

  Those travelling in Australia, will need to fill out a form wherever they are tonight.

People staying in a hotel, motel, caravan park or camping site will be provided with a form.

 But if no one turns up or you were never mailed your online code, don't worry you will not be accruing a fine from tomorrow.



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