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Monday, 20 June 1994
Page: 1772

(Question No. 1386)


Senator Bell asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 9 May 1994:

  (1) Was a computer system installed in Beijing for the department for the purpose of recording and processing visa applications; if so: (a) when was it installed; (b) what was its capacity; and (c) was its capacity subsequently increased, when, and to what size; if not, how were applications processed, recorded and filed.

  (2) Did the computer or the computer program fail for a significant period between 1988 and 1991; if so: (a) for how long; (b) what was the nature of the problem; and (c) what were the consequences.


Senator Bolkus —I am advised that the answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

  (1) (a) An IBM RT computer was installed in Beijing in October 1989.

  (b) Its capacity was 6 million instructions per second(MIPS).

  (c) In January 1991 an IBM RS/6000 computer with a capacity of 20 MIPS replaced the existing system.

  (2) (a) The computer system was inoperable for two one hour periods in November 1989 and again for two one hour periods in August 1990.

  (b) The cause of this down time was an inability to access the database.

  (c) There were no significant consequences of this downtime.