Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Oz Parliament Website Dead

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-01-10

Has parliament fallen foul of the internet filter?  Maybe not, but given that quite a few keywords that would appear in a content-filtering blacklist would be found in Hansard, and testing is apparently underway, who knows?

It is just after 19:00 AEDST and the Australian Parliament website is offline, dead, out of action, crashed, … it has ceased to ping.  Either there is shocking IT planning, or delicious irony.  No "we are going off air for scheduled maintenance" messages were on the website earlier today that I could see.

Obviously my connection is ok, and is online (but the link from it to parliament is broken), so parliament (I tried both and is the problem.

Or has someone hacked in?

This would be a giggle if it wasn’t such an indicator of incompetence somewhere where there shouldn’t be any.

Has anybody else seen the same thing?

Anybody feel like doing a more complete parody of the parrot sketch?

Update: Now 20:00 22:00 23:00 23:55 05:00 and still out of action. If anyone can note when (hopefully not if it comes up again with a cron job or something using wget/traceroute/ping, that would be fantastic, as would any times when somebody FIRST noticed this.  Jacques from Club Troppo has confirmed the parrot sketch applicability.


12 Responses to “Oz Parliament Website Dead”

  1. Dave Bath said

    And make as many jokes about poor responsiveness of parliament to Australians’ needs as you like, given the following browser messages:
    Firefox: Network Timeout. The server at is taking too long to respond.

    Google Chrome: Oops! This link appears broken. Page not found – unknown error.

    Safari: Safari could not open the page “” because the server is not responding.

    Konqueror:The requested operation could not be completed Connection to Server Refused
    Details of the Request: URL:
    Protocol: http Date and Time: Saturday 10 January 2009 19:57
    Additional Information: Unknown error
    Description: The server refused to allow this computer to make a connection. Possible Causes:
    * The server, while currently connected to the Internet, may not be configured to allow requests.
    * The server, while currently connected to the Internet, may not be running the requested service (http).
    * A network firewall (a device which restricts Internet requests), either protecting your network or the network of the server, may have intervened, preventing this request.

  2. Dave Bath said

    OMG! Just released the error may have happened when I was online much earlier today… details here. That was around 14:00

  3. Dave Bath said

    See also Jacques’ post at CT
    Parliament is unresponsive (2009-01-10) which has a few more diagnostics, and is collecting nerdy jokes about the matter (although feel free to add them here)

    Oh, and I checked DSD
    Pinging [] with 32 bytes of data:

    OOoooohhhh…. I’m sure that the DSD folk know that “wombat” is Olde Hackish for “Waste Of Money, Brains And Time”

  4. Now I’m pretty sure that the Palestinians have not downed the Australian Federal Parliament website and, although the last time I looked at its traffic details on Alexa 2.7% of all Internet visitors to came from Iran I’m fairly certain that the answer does not lie within that country’s borders.

    So why has it suddenly gone off line?

    Well Whois states that its server is:
    Name Server:
    Name Server IP:
    Name Server:
    Name Server IP:
    Name Server:
    Name Server IP:

    Optus itself is still online and its problems with subcontractors was not supposed to result in a national strike this month, so it is unlikely that industrial relations issues have caused the disappearance of the parliament website.

    However, Optus has previously stated that it would take part in the Rudd-Conroy live trial of The Great Firewall of Australia.
    It has also stated that its own part in this trial will be confined to one geographic area.

    Perhaps with a touch of weird Aussie humour, Optus decided that the ACT would be its target area.

  5. Dave Bath said

    Well done, and good background links.
    Now there is a HUGE difference between operating a blacklist (trivial… we used it in the usenet era with newsgroups and mail over uucp so no grunt required these days) and content filtering which will be on keywords (and don’t get me started on the intractable problem of image analysis – which may or may not pick up pottery and plato).

    The net HAS been dog slow.

    So, what is the only difference between and non-blocked sites like, centrelink, tax, prime minister and cabinet, compared to the only thing I can find that is broken…. The only difference in content is that I doubt if tax and centrelink contains the sort of “think of the children” keywords the content filtering is supposed to stop.

    Unless, it’s not just keywords which would be found in other places (sociology/law related universities perhaps, which I don’t know are blocked or not), …. what if someone inside has been VERY VERY VERY bad and thinking they could get away with evil activities?

    Police and retired judges have been caught after all!

  6. danny said

    7:48 sunday morning queensland time, works for me

  7. Lyn said

    Ditto danny at 8.30

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  9. Dave Bath said

    Checking around with friends, it was still off-line at 05:00 this morning. That’s either 10 hours minimum, or if my guess is around 14:00 yesterday when my transaction blew up, about 15 hours.

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