Screenshot of Australian census website failing to connect

Though last Tuesday’s attempted census has attracted much opprobrium for the Australian Bureau of Statistics, to focus solely on the issues raised by the department’s bungling is to let a much more significant question go begging: why are so many crucial government services heading so far online?

Regardless of whether the census was thrown off kilter by Distributed Denial of Service attacks (maybe), capacity problems (likely) or a shark chewing on the undersea cable (almost definitely not), problems with the digital streamlining of crucial government services and initiatives like the census have been stacking up across departments for some time now, and the relentless logic underpinning this government-wide process needs unpicking.