Greg Poropat writes: Re. “Census clusterfuck hits a government already lurching between bungles” (yesterday). Malcolm Turnbull, the man sitting at the apex of the disaster that is the 2016 Census. Never mind the fact that a Coalition government has managed the Australian Bureau of Statistics for three years, never mind the fact that a Coalition government left the ABS without a permanent leader for almost a year, never mind the fact that a Coalition government slashed the ABS’s budget, never mind the fact that since Turnbull’s ascension to the prime ministership three separate ministers have been responsible for the ABS: in Turnbull’s books, the Census fiasco is anybody’s fault but the government’s. If he’s so angry and disappointed at this, he should look in the mirror and the faces of his Cabinet colleagues, past and present, to see where the ultimate responsibility for this failure lies and, like a decent leader, cop the blame.

Scott Grant writes: As someone who works with a large enterprise system, I have seen a lot of failures and often been in the hot chair trying to fix the damn thing. I did not predict Tuesday night’s cock-up, but from my own experience I certainly was not going to even attempt to log onto the site on Tuesday night. Whatever people claim about testing, there is no substitute for the real thing.

The differences with the last census are remarkable. Last time round, there was no controversy. The ABS was still a trusted apolitical organization. Paper forms were freely handed out and the web site was simply an alternative. Five years ago I filled in my details on the web site, without a problem. But even then, I did not do it on Census night. That is like trying to drive out of Sydney on the day before Easter. One prang and everyone is stuck. Leaving aside the controversy, the one thing that puzzles me the most is why there was not more publicity given to the simple fact that you were never required to fill in the details on Tuesday night.

I have yet to decide if I shall join the boycott, and I have a few weeks yet to make that decision.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey