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Australian Bureau of Statistics CIO quits

Rohan Pearce | Feb. 10, 2017
CIO’s retirement follows difficult period for the agency in the wake of the Census debacle

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has to find itself a new IT chief, with its chief information officer, Patrick Hadley, planning to retire in early March.

In addition to holding the CIO title at the bureau, Hadley is also the ABS chief information security officer (CISO) and general manager of its Technology Services Division.

Hadley has held the ABS CIO role for half a decade, joining the bureau in 2012.

Hadley's retirement follows a difficult period for the ABS.

Last year, the failure of the online Census led to heightened scrutiny of the bureau, with the ABS and lead contractor IBM both facing significant criticism in the aftermath.

After a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, the eCensus was pulled offline by the ABS on Census night. The fallout led to a review by the Prime Minister's Special Advisor on Cyber Security, Alastair MacGibbon and an inquiry by the Senate Economics References Committee.

The MacGibbon review argued that the DDoS attacks that targeted the Census were "defeatable" and that "more robust security planning would have led to a different outcome".

Both MacGibbon's report and the report of the Senate inquiry raised concerns about how the contract to deliver the Census was awarded to IBM, with ABS conducting only a limited tender process.

The Senate inquiry noted ongoing concerns about the state of IT within the ABS, with a 2013 capability review arguing that the bureau's core statistical business processes and IT were well overdue for an upgrade.

The 2015-16 budget earmarked $250 million over five years to upgrade aging IT systems at the ABS.

The inquiry's report noted that "ABS' funding has been eroded over a number of years while the demands and expectations placed on the organisation have increased."

The ABS is currently advertising for a replacement for Hadley.


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