Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Parliamentary dog eats email this time

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-02-17

I’ve received an email from someone in who works for the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee that looks like an admission that their email handling processes are screwed, that something stopped email getting from Google to the desktop of the appropriate staff.

ClarenceGirl noted submissions to committees that apparently went missing.  I now agree there is cause for anger.

Has anybody else had similar problems?  Please comment here so we can co-ordinate responses, or at least chase this up for yourself.

Diagnostics below the fold.

Here is the response I got today.

Good Morning David,

It appears that we didn’t receive your submission.

That’s odd, I cut-and-pasted the email for the followup message from my original one, which in turn was cut-and-pasted from the Senate Web Page!  So, if the first addressing was wrong, the followup would have been too, and I wouldn’t have received the "It appears" response to the second!

Ergo, my original addressing was correct.

Might I have forgotten to send the original?

Here is the header from my original message (with my own email address scrubbed):

Received: by with HTTP; Sat, 7 Feb 2009 01:09:00 -0800 (PST)
Date: Sat, 7 Feb 2009 20:09:00 +1100
Message-ID: <>
Subject: Submission to the Inquiry into the Nation Building and Jobs Plan
From: David Bath

OK… Google got it (no message id otherwise), and it wouldn’t have been in by "Sent" tray anyway!

So…. why didn’t it get to the right desk inside parliament?

  • A stuffup on Google’s part?  HIGHLY unlikely!
  • A stuffup in the technical infrastructure?  Possible.
  • Fat fingers that deleted the email?  Then the audit trail should be there.

I wonder what APH is using for their email infrastructure…. let’s see from the "It appears" email….

Received: from (unknown [])
   by IMSA (Postfix) with ESMTP id 337E820F0F9
   for <>; Tue, 17 Feb 2009 09:27:30 +1100 (EST)
Received: from (unknown [])
   by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 265E820F0A6
   for <>; Tue, 17 Feb 2009 09:27:30 +1100 (EST)
Received: from ([]) by with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.3959);
   Tue, 17 Feb 2009 09:27:29 +1100
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft Exchange V6.5

So… from the parliamentary staff desktop, it went first to MS-Exchange (grrrrrr), and then through a Postfix forwarder (that’s a bit better).

Unfortunately, they are using MS-Outlook, which mangles headers when forwarding messages, so I cannot see the path my second message took going to the parliamentary worker.

I’d appreciate any thoughts from readers, either those with a technical background, or those who had similar problems getting their email through to parliament.

I’ll be using your input to prepare another note to the parliamentary IT section… and I want it to be a good one.

Also, what would a broken email delivery service in Parliament mean to you?  Doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence, does it?


One Response to “Parliamentary dog eats email this time”

  1. Dave Bath said

    In my quick letter to the relevant parliamentary worker, I suggested that this issue be raised with the technical team. That particular worker responded appropriately and promptly with…

    Good Afternoon David

    I have forwarded the issue on to IT

    I Would be more then happy to process your submission, should you wish to resend it. I can not guarantee however that it will be published but I will forward it on to the Senators.

    In a separate message, I resent my submission.

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