blog It’s important for publications such as Delimiter to highlight when we’ve pushed the wrong message, and this is one of those times. Those whose brains weren’t addled by the silly season before Christmas will recall the controversy over the timestamp on a media release issued by the Coalition regarding the controversial James Ashby/Peter Slipper case. At the time it was thought that the office of Tony Abbott had fudged the timestamp to hide the Opposition Leader’s pre-knowledge of the situation, but in fact the Department of Parliamentary Services appears to have cleared Abbott of any wrongdoing, admitting that its systems haven’t been up to spec.
Local IT pro Kieran Cummings (who did quite a bit of investigative work into the original timestamp issue) posted an update on his blog in December with the DPS response and some good analysis. Some sample paragraphs:
“While this does clear Abbott’s office regarding the creation of PDFs/files on DPS servers, it does raise questions over the timing of file creations. It seems this problem has existed for some time, yet no one in Parliament House thought to correct it … For now, I will have to say that there is a lot of suspicious activity regarding IT in Abbott’s office. There is no smoking gun (as I did claim in my last post), but more of a whiff of bullshit. The fact Abbott’s office blamed servers (which is incorrect) rather than Microsoft Word, claimed it was ongoing through April, then claimed they were unaware of the problem does make me believe there is some furious track covering happening.”
Given the fact that the Department of Parliamentary Services itself recently admitted its IT systems are pretty much a complete shambles and that it has widespread problems with IT service delivery and infrastructure, we can’t say we’re surprised by the fact that it doesn’t have its timekeeping mechanisms in order. And after all, you can’t blame Abbott for not being totally across the issue — he’s no Bill Gates. Like Cummings, we personally still suspect shenanigans on this issue, but with no evidence and DPS backing Abbott’s office for now, it seems the Mad Monk is in the clear. At least until the next case of IT timestamp gremlins ;)
Image credit: Screenshot of Tony Abbott on the 7:30 Report, believed to be OK to use under fair use