POLITICS

Labor Turns Up Heat On Coalition Over Census Meltdown

The ALP wants coalition MPs to face a senate inquiry.

14/08/2016 9:38 AM AEST | Updated 14/08/2016 10:22 AM AEST
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Labor has queried the coalition's fitness to govern after Tuesday's census bungle.

Labor Senator Sam Dastyari has called on coalition MPs to front a parliamentary inquiry into this week's census debacle.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said this week the Australian Signals Directorate would review the disastrous census on Tuesday night when millions of Australians were stopped from completing their forms online because the Australian Bureau of Statistics site melted down.

The ABS has said its sites were hacked 4 times by groups overseas, which may have caused the site to crash. There have been suggestions the attacks originated in the US.

While the PM wants the Signals Directorate to investigate, the inquiry is likely to be broader after independent Senator Nick Xenophon indicated he backed a Senate probe into the issue.

Speaking on Sunday, Dastyari said he was also wanted the Senate to investigate.

"If the government can't get something as basic as a census ... how can you govern? There will be a senate process looking at this," he told ABC television.

"Here's my challenge to the government: don't just send the public servants and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. I'd like to see the minister, Michael McCormack (and) the two previous ministers responsible ... actually front the Senate hearings.

"Part of the reason why the Senate needs to look at this is to actually get to the bottom of how exactly this happened but we won't get to the bottom of it if the ministers don't have the guts to front."

More on the census bungle can be read here.

In a wide-ranging interview, Dastyari also hit out at Australia's banking culture, labeling it deplorable.

He took particular aim at the boss of the Commonwealth Bank Ian Narev, who this week said the banks were still operating in a tough environment, despite raking in record profits.

"Let's be clear here. The culture within Australian banking, the culture within Australian banking is deplorable ... We need a Royal Commission to get to the bottom of what has actually gone on."

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