Should this man resign over the Census debacle?

WHETHER the Census was hacked or whether it simply failed as millions of Australians attempted to log-on at the same time doesn't matter. Labor wants heads to roll.

The Opposition is targeting Assistant Treasurer Michael McCormack.

As the minister in charge of pushing the classic paper Census online, he was the target of bubbling frustration on Tuesday night as Australians were left locked out of the Census site.

Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh said the government failed to explain why it had pushed the Census online, where it was then targeted by foreign hackers.

"If you can't get the census right how can you govern the country?," Dr Leigh said.


Dr Leigh said the fury Australians felt at having to do the Census online, then finding it wasn't possible, could skew results.

"People will, when they go back to fill it in again, have that sense of anger and frustration and maybe they won't be as careful and methodical filling out their census for the second time."



Pushing the Census online was already contentious even before the disaster of Tuesday night.

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon said publicly he would not include his name, despite the threat of prosecution, because he feared it presented "a privacy risk".

This decision was dismissed by Mr McCormack and ABS chief statistician David Kalisch.

"I think we're making far too much of this, names and addresses and privacy breaches," McCormack said on Tuesday.

"Anybody with a supermarket loyalty card, anybody who does tap-and-go, anybody who buys things online, they provide more information indeed probably to what is available to ABS staff."

The Australian has previously reported the Federal Government gave the ABS $250 million to upgrade its IT system.

The ABS described its IT system as "highly vulnerable to failure and error", adding that some of its IT infrastructure was more than 30 years old.

At the time, Mr Kalisch said the ABS was "subject to hacking attempts but has resisted all of those to date".

Mr McCormack released a statement early on Wednesday in relation to the Census outage: