On the Census

Peter Richardson writes:  Re. “Turnbull throws IBM under the bus as ABS prepares staff for census backlash” (yesterday). Did I see somewhere that census was experiencing under 200 transactions per second when they had tested it to about 50% above that rate? I can’t find the reference again but it sounds an incredible rate that the system was able to perform.

But it wouldn’t have been enough.

If we assume that there were 10 million returns to be processed and that people sat down after dinner to do the census (as would have been encouraged in past years) so we were asking the system to process those 10 million returns in, say, 3 hours the system would have had to process about 1000 transactions per second (10 million in around 10 thousand seconds).

This is just a back of the envelope guesstimate but could explain why no one found any DDOS activity.

To get something like the 200 transactions per second you would have to assume that the transactions took place over 15 hours at a consistent rate. This would have been a poor assumption.

Is the fault that simple?

On offshore processing

Nic Maclellan writes: Re. “Just following orders is not an excuse” (yesterday). In your editorial on human rights abuses in Nauru, you argue that “none of these outcomes are necessary parts of, or inevitable consequences of, the successful implementation of offshore processing and the deterrence of asylum seekers from trying to reach Australia by boat.”

I’d argue, in contrast, that they are the inevitable consequences of offshore processing. This is a deliberate policy of removing vulnerable people from the scrutiny of judicial review and independent statutory bodies like the Australian Human Rights Commission. Government policy making and implementation must be tempered by scrutiny and review from other state institutions, an independent media and active citizens. By deliberately creating programs overseas without this oversight, it is inevitable that ordinary people will get stomped on.

After the human tragedy of Pacific Solution Mark One in 2001-06, it was clear that offshore processing doesn’t work. But Labor and the Coalition have tried again, with the same results.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey