Australia news live: minister announces ‘critical’ review of Optus outage saying no network is immune | Australia news

Review announced of Optus outage

Josh Taylor

Optus is facing a government review into the 14-hour outage yesterday that left tens of millions of customers without phone or internet services for most of the day.

The communications minister, Michelle Rowland, said the review, to be conducted by the communications department, would look at potential lessons from the outage.

Guardian Australia reported yesterday the outage was likely caused by a misconfiguration in the company’s network, but Optus has yet to provide any detail on the cause. The CEO, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, told Nine Entertainment that the outage was caused by a “technical network fault” but did not elaborate.

The terms of reference and next steps will be announced at a later date, the minister said. Rowland said:

It is critical that industry and governments take stock following large-scale outages, given no network is immune.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (Acma) is also separately conducting an investigation with Optus’s compliance with rules requiring emergency calls to fall over to other networks when the services are unavailable. Optus customers reported being unable to dial 000 from their mobile phones, despite the rules being in place.

Key events

Inner-northern Melbourne suburbs to raise Palestinian flag

The Merri-Bek council in Melbourne will fly the Palestinian flag, and explore options for council to cancel contracts with businesses that “support Israel’s illegal occupation”.

The Palestinian flag will be raised at the Council’s Coburg Civic Centre and Brunswick Town Hall “until a cease fire is declared in Gaza,” according to the agenda of yesterday’s council meeting notes.

The council is also commissioning “a report to explore options for council to cancel contracts with companies that support Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine or profit from it,” with a focus on companies that supply equipment to the Israeli Defence Force.

They noted that “boycotts, divestment and sanctions are legitimate, non-violent tactics used by individuals and organisations to pressure foreign governments over human rights”.

Sue Bolton, councillor who moved the motion, told a local paper that council would need to conduct an audit of all contracts with suppliers to identify any with connections to Israel.

The motion was passed 6-4. Several hundred people rallied outside the council offices in support of Palestine.

The council “Recognises that the constant bombing and the total siege of Gaza is traumatising for many Merri-bek residents who have relatives in the region or have come from war-torn countries”.

The Victorian council is also urging the federal government to:

Strongly condemn the war crimes being carried out by Israel against the Palestinians in Gaza.

Call for an immediate ceasefire and end to Israel’s indiscriminate bombing.

Call for the immediate lifting of the siege on Gaza to allow Palestinians in Gaza to have unlimited access to food, water, fuel, electricity, medical supplies and construction materials to repair damaged homes and civilian infrastructure.

Advocate for all Palestinian and Israeli hostages to be released.

Advocate for a political resolution to the decades-long conflict which includes an end to Israel’s illegal Occupation of Palestine in order for there to be a just and sustainable peace.

End all military, economic, political and diplomatic ties with the state of Israel until it complies with its obligations under international law.

Daniel Hurst

Daniel Hurst

Albanese at the Pacific Islands Forum

Good morning from Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, where the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, is holding further talks with Pacific leaders.

Albanese arrived here yesterday and held bilateral meetings with three leaders – the prime ministers of Tuvalu and the Cook Islands and the president of Kiribati – with the climate crisis being one of the big topics on the agenda. Albanese last night presented the prime minister of the Cook Islands, Mark Brown, with a South Sydney Rabbitohs jersey and thanked him for his hospitality in hosting this year’s Pacific Islands Forum (Pif), the region’s most important annual political gathering.

Today Albanese is joining other Pif leaders in discussing how to implement the the region’s 2050 strategy for a blue Pacific continent. Albanese is expected to address the media at some point today before all of the leaders fly to the island of Aitutaki for an overnight retreat to thrash out key issues.

Anthony Albanese talks with Kiribati’s president, Taneti Maamau, at the Pacific Island Forum.
Anthony Albanese talks with Kiribati’s president, Taneti Maamau, at the Pacific Island Forum. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

The secretary general of Pif, Henry Puna, said in opening remarks to the plenary meeting this morning that it was important to ensure “that each of you as foreign leaders have the time and the space to engage in and amongst yourselves on issues of critical importance to our collective aspirations and development as a forum family”.

Puna said the region would be acting more strongly if it settled on a strong collective position:

I respectfully encourage you to use your retreat session to have honest and frank conversations on the range of issues facing our region today.

As we all continue to witness on a daily basis, there are a multitude of opportunities and complexities before us as a region. But key to capitalise on these opportunities and overcoming shared complexity is our solidarity as a region.

Topics expected to be discussed today include climate change, fisheries, nuclear issues, trade and gender equality. Here’s our latest news wrap of the pressure Australia is facing on climate:

Rafqa Touma

Rafqa Touma

Thanks for joining us on the blog this morning – I’m Rafqa Touma and I’ll be rolling your live news updates. If you see something you don’t want us to miss, tweet it my way @At_Raf_

South Australia school shutdown as teachers go on strike

Hundreds of schools will close across South Australia during Year 12 exams as teachers walk off the job and march on parliament house to demand better pay and conditions, according to Australian Associated Press.

Today’s strike action comes despite the Malinauskas government presenting a revised pay offer to the Australian Education Union (AEU) on Monday. Martin Westwell, the chief executive for the state’s Department for Education, said it was disappointing the union had decided to take industrial action instead of sitting down at the negotiating table, but reassured parents and students the closures would not have an impact on the approximately 1,000 school leavers sitting their physics and accounting exams “even if the school is closed,” he said.

“Every school is making arrangements and making sure that, even if the school is closed, the exams will run as normal and not be disrupted at all,” he told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

Andrew Gohl, the AEU South Australia’s branch president, had given the government an ultimatum to provide a better pay offer by Monday to avert the strike, but said the latest $1.4m deal failed to make any improvement on the last.

“By taking the two $1,500 payments off the table and adding a meagre 0.5% to the overall increase, the latest offer would see most educators worse off,” he said.

South Australian teachers are currently the lowest-paid in the country, with graduates earning less than $75,000. Earlier this year their NSW counterparts won an historic wage increase, including a rise of more than 12% for teachers straight out of university.

The union also took umbrage with the government’s refusal to bring forward the seven-year delay to implement a reduction in teaching hours, arguing teachers are in desperate need of workload relief and cannot afford to wait that long.

“Every day in South Australia, thousands of students are without a consistent teacher and we are committed to reaching an agreement that helps to fix that,” Gohl said.

“[The government] choose to invest in university mergers and submarines that nobody asked for, so now it’s time they choose to invest in public education and recognise educators for what they’re worth.”

Greens call for Optus outage inquiry

The government’s announcement comes as the Greens are pushing for a federal parliamentary inquiry in the Senate to examine what led to a nationwide outage of the Optus network.

Millions of Australian were left without phone or internet services on Wednesday after an as-yet undiagnosed problem shut down the company’s whole network.

The failure also led to widespread disruption of health, transport and other key government services linked to the internet, prompting the federal communications minister, Michelle Rowland, to intervene and say that customers were seeing “a high level of anxiety and frustration”.

Now the Greens have taken the cudgels for consumers and are demanding the company be made to account for the loss of the key services.

“We need to make sure that all Australians have access to affordable and reliable internet and telecommunication, because otherwise life as we know it stops, and that’s what Australians right around the country experienced (yesterday) morning,” Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

Services began to be restored by Wednesday afternoon and the network was fully up and running again by 6pm, but the exact cause of the outage was still not fully established.

One expert suggested it could have been caused by the same issue that brought down Facebook two years ago. Cloudflare, which tracks a range of activity on the internet, noticed a spike in border gateway protocol (BGP) announcements from Optus coinciding with the time the network went offline.

Read our full story here:

Plus, find out whether you might be able to claim compensation and whether this is a good time to switch providers.

Review announced of Optus outage

Josh Taylor

Josh Taylor

Optus is facing a government review into the 14-hour outage yesterday that left tens of millions of customers without phone or internet services for most of the day.

The communications minister, Michelle Rowland, said the review, to be conducted by the communications department, would look at potential lessons from the outage.

Guardian Australia reported yesterday the outage was likely caused by a misconfiguration in the company’s network, but Optus has yet to provide any detail on the cause. The CEO, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, told Nine Entertainment that the outage was caused by a “technical network fault” but did not elaborate.

The terms of reference and next steps will be announced at a later date, the minister said. Rowland said:

It is critical that industry and governments take stock following large-scale outages, given no network is immune.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (Acma) is also separately conducting an investigation with Optus’s compliance with rules requiring emergency calls to fall over to other networks when the services are unavailable. Optus customers reported being unable to dial 000 from their mobile phones, despite the rules being in place.

Welcome

Good morning and welcome to our rolling news coverage. I’m Martin Farrer with some of the best overnight breaking stories before my colleague Rafqa Touma logs on for the rest of the day.

It’s a company that has given Australia the World Cup streaming debacle, last year’s cyberattack, and now yesterday’s disastrous network-wide outage. It’s been a bad run for Optus, the telco that likes to say yes, and we’re looking today at what happens if consumers start saying no and moving their business elsewhere.

The Greens are saying they will push for a parliamentary inquiry into the incident so it doesn’t look as though the issue is going to be swept under the carpet quickly. Customers will be considering compensation claims today after yesterday’s network-wide outage caused disruption for households, businesses and public services.

It is still not completely certain what caused the problem although one expert pointed to the type of “configuration outage” that saw Facebook’s network crash in 2021.

Meanwhile, Australia is facing fresh pressure from its Pacific region partners to rein in fossil fuel subsidies, with new figures showing just a fraction of that spending could fully fund the shift to clean energy in eight island countries. The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, arrived in the Cook Islands on Tuesday local time (Wednesday Australian time) and acknowledged the climate crisis was “certainly felt most acutely in island states”.

And Australians are increasingly turning to share housing amid the cost of living crisis, according to new data from a share accommodation platform that says it’s also seen a rise in homeowners renting out a spare room.

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