Council candidate nomination’s ‘nightmare’ technical problem

Council candidate nomination’s ‘nightmare’ technical problem

Council election candidate nominations have been marred with revelations Queensland’s new software system managing them – built by an offshore IT company who outsources parts of its coding to China – has been plagued with “technical difficulties”.

A MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR software program managing a vital part of the council elections has been plagued with technical difficulties, with one insider describing it as a “nightmare”.

The new online nomination process has been struck with server problems and at times crashing, forcing some would be candidates to rely on pen and paper to stand for election.

The Electoral Commission Queensland has confirmed there had been technical difficulties, but played it down as teething problems, despite nominations closing tomorrow for the elections.

The firm behind the software is a US-based tech company which outsources parts of its software to Chinese developers.

It is understood there have been IT issues around the new Election Management System, which began its operations on January 20, for several weeks.

An ECQ spokeswoman said confirmed there had been issues with the system since it came into operation.

“As this is a new system, some technical issues have been experienced since candidate nominations opened,” she said.

“However, candidates experiencing difficulties of any kind are still able to nominate by downloading the nomination form from the ECQ website, or obtaining one from the Returning Officer.

“System maintenance is routinely scheduled and undertaken out of hours to minimise the impact on potential candidates and other system users.”

She said it had not impacted the election donation Electronic Disclosure system.

LNP Senator Amanda Stoker said the state government had spent millions of dollars on another IT system which was not working.

“Queenslanders should be concerned that an offshore start up that outsources programming to China has built the software to run our elections,” she said.

“If ever there was a call for the Queensland first procurement policy to apply, it should be for something as sensitive as the integrity of our democracy.”

The ECQ spokeswoman said the new system had registered 622 nominations for candidates as of Friday morning.

She said more than 1400 gifts relating to the council elections had been disclosed, including almost $2 million in gifts related to candidates, while 5160 donation returns had been lodged for candidate and political party expenditure.

Published in the Courier Mail on Monday 2 March 2020 by Matt